Recently, 51-year-old Teresa Hwang shared a very moving story about TikTok. In the published video, the woman who is a teacher at the elementary school in Oakville, Canada, introduced her best friend, a sweet little dog named Boo, and told how a very special bond developed between them.
When they first met, Boo lived in a kennel and was terrified of humans, while Teresa, after being bitten twice by a dog, could no longer get close to these animals.
Over time and in small steps, the two have gained their respective trust and a great friendship has blossomed between them.
Teresa Hwang has been afraid of dogs for most of her life due to two traumatizing episodes: at the age of 10 she was bitten by a dog on the face and at 20 on one leg. These two incidents caused a real phobia in her. "If I saw dogs on a leash, I crossed the street to avoid crossing them, and I asked my friends to close their dogs in another room if I went to find them," says Teresa, and adds "even if I was able to interact with dogs friendlies I was familiar with, regardless of size or breed, I always kept panicking if a dog snarled or barked, even if it was just playing. "
By avoiding the dogs, Teresa had partially solved her problem. But when her boyfriend proposed to adopt one, everything fell apart. After some time and various insistences, two years ago, Teresa became convinced. “After researching and visiting numerous kennels, we found a dog named Patches (later renamed Boo) at the Niagara Dog Rescue. Boo had been in the kennel for about 6 months. "
The first time Teresa met Boo, the dog looked nervous and scared. He was on a bench with a lady from the kennel. “After about 15 minutes of conversation, Boo slowly came out of the hiding place behind the woman and took a few steps towards me. As I turned around he licked me on the nose, then quickly retreated and hid again. The woman with a surprised look exclaimed: 'Wow. It's really strange, it doesn't come close to people. I guess he chose you. " At that precise moment, all my catastrophic worries about my ability to overcome my fear dissolved. I had to take it home. "
“The first two months have not gone very well. He followed me around the house but did not come near. He did not eat in front of us. He walked with his tail between his legs. He curled up in the corners and jerked at noises like that of the washing machine or boiler. "
“We are not sure of its history, we treated it as if it had experienced a trauma and worked to create security and trust. We stuck to predictable routines and took cues from his body language. We tried with several trainers ".
“Then in the end, he realized he was safe. He started wagging his tail while walking and eating in front of us. A few weeks later he licked my nose. A couple of months later, he started playing with a ball. Then, I heard him barking for the first time with excitement in our courtyard. With every milestone I witnessed, I cried tears of joy because it was like Boo was a puppy again and learning everything from scratch. "
“It is not your typical domestic dog. It still frightens if people move around the house. It is not motivated by goodies. He never goes to the door to greet. He is not very friendly. But it has taken many steps forward. "
“Many ask me if I have overcome my dog's phobia. Well, I'm not afraid of Boo, even when he barks or growls to communicate excitement or unease. But I'm still nervous about other dogs I don't know. But it's better. Boo is not the only one who has changed. Seeing him heal and grow has changed the way I see myself. Just like with my kids, taking care of Boo taught me patience and unconditional love. "
“Thanks to Boo, the way I see many of my students has also changed. I realized that many times behaviors such as challenge, aggression and closure are all related to the same thing: anxiety and fear. Fear is a powerful emotion. It prevents you from taking risks, trusting others and believing in yourself. Building relationships first, creating a sense of security and trust is really the most important thing. Boo and I overcame our fears together. We healed each other. We have shown that love is greater than fear. "