We went to a friend's house who had a small dog. The boys panicked and the poor dog had to be put in the kennel (behind three closed doors) until we left. They thought they heard the dog coming and went into panic mode. The next day they got out of the car in our garage and a dog was on a leash across the street and they headed for the hills. My heart aches for them to have this fear. As their mom, I want to take all their worries away. I know I can't fix it instantly, but we are working on it!
I mentioned to our friend Eric, who trains dogs to help others, about the boys fear. Eric said let's go for ice cream! Not only was the ice cream delicious, it was the best thing we could have done to help the boys.
Eric knows what he is doing. He picked the ice cream store because it was a neutral playing field. We weren't entering the house that has a dog. We were going for ice cream with a dog. If you are 2, even if you have a fear of dogs, this is a cool thing. We met Archer and Eric in the parking lot. We let Josie approach Archer first. Archer is the sweetest black lab service dog on Earth. The boys saw how much fun Josie was having and decided to come closer for a pet. They did good for a few minutes then Archer moved his head slightly towards them and the boys panicked. I didn't realize this, but Eric was right on it and moved Archer so he couldn't face the boys.
We went in for ice cream and by the end the boys were smiling and excited to be by Archer. We talked a lot about how Archer is a service dog and what that means. I think Josie got the most out of that conversation... Ben's big take-a-way was Archer was allowed in the store. They were so calm and fearless. I was beaming for them.
Additionally, Josie has decided she'll be working for Eric when she's older, like 10.
Ben, Josie, and Will with Archer
Learning about Archer