What I have been doing the past couple of days though is beginning to learn how to drive. OK, I know, I'm 41 years old and I should have learned a lot sooner - but you see, I have this horrible crazy fear of it. So much so that it's stopped me learning. I lived in London for a long time, and I just didn't need to drive, what with the underground and awesome bus services there - but, living here on the Island, you're pretty scuppered if you don't. Bus fares are so expensive and, some of the places I want to go the bus doesn't go - a bit silly that. I promised myself at the start of the year to do the things I had been putting off. Regardless of the fear factor!
My lovely little car - he's called Moby and he's a good boy :)
I have to say, I'm not really enjoying it. I'm doing it because I have to - and whilst I have an amazing Mum who joined me in my business and takes me anywhere I need to go for work - it's not right is it?A middle-aged woman relying on her Mum to get her everywhere! It's finally time I bit the bullet.
Learning from Willow
Willow has actually helped me loads with figuring out how to deal with this crazy fear. Observing her and her fear, I saw that whilst so much sends her into a meltdown, she also pushes herself to overcome it. If at first she's not sure of something, she'll back away - but then she'll go back to it, and if she backs off again, she'll go back to it again until she's overcome it - and...if my dog can blimmin' well do it, so can I!
We're helping each other - she's teaching me how to trust myself and know I can do these things, and I'm doing the same for her. It's a perfect match.
Whilst we're on the subject of fear:
Last week I ordered Willow a special hi-viz vest. I have several times tried to get through to some people that she just doesn't want to be petted, or approached by dogs or their owners. I'm quite a forceful character when I want to be (and especially so when it comes to my dogs) - but, it seems that when it comes to dogs, some people take leave of their senses and ignore what they're asked to do around her - this made me so angry the other day that I lost my temper with one man who refused to call his big overly confident rotty away from her.
Willow was in such a state, she was backing away into the sea with the waves lapping over her in dreadful fear and nothing I said to this chap would convince him that his dog was causing more damage than good (he said it was "Just what she needed" without knowing anything about her). I got so mad I might have sworn a bit - and whilst this man is very much the exception rather than the rule - after a couple of other incidents where people ignored my "Please don't approach her, she's scared." request, I thought I'd get her a jacket that makes it immediately obvious.
We used it for the first time today - and it really helped. Instead of people approaching, they still spoke to her, but kept their distance. She needs to know that people aren't a threat, but we need to make sure that that is done in a controlled way until she's ready for the cuddles.
Willow is so 'different' looking to most dogs on the Island that she gets a lot of attention - and of course, her missing story got a lot of exposure with so many people searching for her, that of course when they see her want to stop and say hello and give her a squidge - and whilst I wish that more than anything for her and for them, they worked so hard on her search - she's just not ready for that right now. One day, but not yet.
I'm thinking of getting one of the hi-viz jackets for the car when I'm out driving. What do you think? ;)