Rhetta has an unhealthy fear of animals, especially dogs and cats. I cannot determine how it developed as it has not always been the case. She will venture to touch a cat from time to time but dogs will send her into a panic. She will scale the nearest human and perch atop their head until the dog is a safe distance away.
I have been mildly concerned about this. Until she exhibited this anxiety I was of the mind that all she needed was exposure. We do not have pets of our own yet. It has been said to me often that getting one would solve our problem but truly that would be cruel in this case. My daughter would just want to live in the car as a result.
She has searched out her own information online. She discovered a game on PBSKids.org all about a dog, called Martha Speaks . I was very proud of her. She is good at this very thing, finding kid's sites online that have to do with what she finds challenging.
I spoke with her OT about Rhetta's anxiety and she geared a whole DIR ® Floortime session that revolved around playing with dogs, pretending to be dogs, role playing. She said they were getting to know each other by sniffing and putting their "paws" up. They also played around with a jump rope rhyme in ST that Rhetta just flipped over. She recited it in the car all the way home.
I'VE GOT A DOG,
Her name is Nell,
And what she eats,
I hate to tell:
Tennis balls, Chinese shawls,
River stones, pork chop bones,
Antique fans, rubber bands,
Satin shoes, rawhide chews.
If you don't watch out,
SHE'LL EAT YOU, TOO!
And then she'd pretend to give me a good munch. LOL
So all this history to say, today at school for Show and Tell one of Rhetta's classmates brought in his choclate lab puppy. The report I got from Rhetta's teacher read, "She wasn't quite sure, but soon laughed and petted "Max"." Let me repeat that. She laughed and petted the DOG! YAY!