Watching the rain
The first week to ten days or so of Rosie's life with us, she was fearless. Big dogs, strangers, small darting children--it didn't matter. She'd watch with great interest, and, if she had the opportunity, she'd jump on their heads.
If I vacuumed, she'd sit, head cocked, and watch. The roaring noise was interesting to her, but not scary. Trucks, bicycles, rollerbladers--none of Riley's fear triggers meant a thing to her. She'd watch, or not, and go about her happy business.
In the yard, if we heard an unseen neighbor dog bark, she'd stop and listen and then go back to digging her unauthorized hole, or chewing on a stick, or racing after poor beleaguered Riley.
This used to be Riley's stick
I can pinpoint the day when she discovered fear--it was last Thursday. I cannot pinpoint the cause.
On Thursday morning, as we did our normal 8 a.m. walk around the neighborhood, she heard a dog barking in its yard. And she stopped. Would not take another step. I picked her up, and she was trembling. We were on the opposite side of the street from the dog, and the dog was in its house, but still, she was scared--the first time I'd seen her afraid.
I carried her a few yards and set her down and we walked on.
The next morning, it happened again--different house, different dog, same reaction. She was scared. I carried her past the danger, and then all was fine.
Is fear something that kicks in at a certain age? Or is it learned? If it's learned, how did she learn it? No creature has ever tried to hurt her. Still, it seems a healthy thing, to be wary of unknown surroundings, unknown dogs, the ominous sound of barking.
She is still happy to meet strangers, but I sense in her a new wariness. Where did it come from? What made it kick in?