Posted: Thursday, March 22, 2012 8:00 pm
Dear Annie: Five years ago, an encounter with a large, vicious dog put me in the ER and left me with lasting scars, physical and otherwise. I’m almost 20 now.
I can pet and play with small, quiet dogs, but larger ones strike panic in me. I cringe when I hear barking. I still have nightmares and sometimes feel phantom pains where I was attacked. Spending time with my parents’ medium-sized dog doesn’t help, especially since it has bitten people before, and my family still treats it like the best dog in the world.
I never got professional help, because I was told shortly after the attack that I needed to “get over it.” I feel no one understands my fear because it’s an American tradition to love dogs. Besides, I don’t have money for therapy. What can I do? — Terrified
Dear Terrified: People who tell you to “get over it” do not understand the extent of the problem. Your fear is not irrational. You were viciously bitten, and such a trauma is difficult to overcome. The fact that you can pet and play with small dogs is quite an achievement, all considered. If you regularly encounter larger dogs and wish to work on your fear, please know that low-cost therapy is available. Ask your doctor, and check your church and United Way. You can even search online for tips on overcoming phobias.
Dear Annie: I own property out of state. I use it mostly in the summer, but it’s checked on at least once a month. My neighbor there is married to a woman who is no longer friends with me, but we are civil to each other. The problem is, the wife thinks she’s entitled to dig up and take or remove any of my plants, shrubs, gravel, etc. Every season, I check the garden to make sure nothing else is missing.
I took great pride in my garden of perennials and enjoyed the fruits of my hard work. Last fall, I noticed the daylilies were pulled right out of the ground. She also dug up a hosta that had been in that spot for years — and looked great. She obviously does her dirty work when her husband isn’t home. She simply helps herself to my garden.
I went to the police, and they suggested I discuss this with the neighbor. The officer said if the police dropped by, it would be considered a threat, and besides, the husband may not know anything.
This has been going on for years. Every season gets more frustrating. I bought an outside camera (not installed) and left her a note saying I had contacted the police, but it hasn’t made any difference. She ignores all the “Keep Out” and “No Trespassing” signs. Any suggestions? — At the End of My Rope
Dear End: Are you sure the wife is doing this? Could it be local animals or some other culprit? We strongly recommend you install that camera and find out what’s going on. If you get proof, talk to the husband and ask him to discuss it with his wife. You also can take it to the police. This is trespassing and theft, and it’s against the law
Dear Annie: I need to respond to “It’s Only Hair.” As a former businessperson, my company hired only employees who were well groomed to represent our establishment. If a prospective employee appeared looking like something the dog brought home from a weekend fling, there was no way he would be considered.
Tattoos, long hair, whiskers or a junkyard of iron piercings on their face and ears are simply not appropriate when looking for an emissary for your business. Young adults looking for employment might consider presenting a better image of themselves. — Oregon
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please email your questions to email@example.com, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 737 3rd St., Hermosa Beach, CA 90254. To find out more about Annie’s Mailbox and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.
Published in The Messenger 3.22.12