Bullied by fear

This weekend, my five-year-old pug submitted to the bullying of a nine-month-old kitten.

I visited my old roommate in Winterset and brought along my dog. My friend Sara has two cats – one that she had when we were roommates and one that she got this summer.

We were excited for the kitten and my pug to meet. We thought they were both feisty and fearless enough to be friends, regardless of the species barrier. After all, the dog was already friends with the other cat in the household.

We were wrong.

It took approximately three minutes for this cat to corner my dog, hiss with hairs standing up and give the pug a good swat on the nose.

It couldn’t have hurt much. The seven pound cat is declawed and perfectly harmless, but the dog was frightened and submitted to every action of the cat for the remainder of the weekend. She was repeatedly chased from the water dish, picked on in the living room and cornered into the laundry area.

We couldn’t help but laugh at the irony of the situation. My dog spends a lot of time playing with two good sized boxers (at the same time), and she often entertains a German shorthair pointer. She can hold her own with dogs approximately three times her size, but this kitten was fearless.

I think the dog might be traumatized for life. She may never approach a cat again with the same confidence and poise because of the fear she felt for a kitten named Haiku.

I got a good laugh out of the situation, but it also got me thinking about my own fears.

What are the little things that I fear? The things that I’d discover wouldn’t be able to harm me if I took a closer look? Things that have more bark (or hiss) than they do bite?

How often are we frightened of things just because they appeared threatening at first? Do we miss making friends because of a tough first encounter? What things are backing me into a corner? And do I really need to fear them?