Then we acquired Betty and we felt that she had much to teach us all, particularly Little Owlet. What has been amazing to watch though, is Little Owlet teaching herself to be comfortable around Betty. Watching her train Betty and figure out her place in our pack. Inspired by this blog post, I showed her this clip about fear. Women overcoming fear. She identified with it. She turned to me one day and said "Mama, I'm going to face my fears".
Every day, she has taken it upon herself to spend some time patting Betty. Asking Big Owlet to sit with her while Betty sits on her lap. Venturing outside with her. Walking her on a lead. Feeding her. Giving her directions. Reassuring Betty and in turn, herself. I'm absolutely astonished at how diligent she's been. Driven to learn all about that which frightens her most. And the results! She'll quietly wander off and pop on some gumboots if she feels the situation requires appropriate foot ware, but there's no panic in her voice. No shaking. No crying. She's not so afraid of other creatures now either.
The best thing is that she's done it all on her own terms. In her own time and in her own way. She's learnt so much about animals, about dogs. And a huge amount about herself and facing her fears. I love that she's had time to do it on her own and I'm amazed at other skills she's acquired in the process. Confidence, for one. And a way to work with and around her fear. Another reminder to me that when the time is right, and the will is there, the child will learn. Brilliant stuff.