Brava, Benedetta!

A week ago, I met Benedetta, who arrived from Milan with her mummy. I had known that she’s afraid of dogs and even though she put on a very brave front, I knew she was terrified of me.

Well, I knew it wasn’t me. Even though she had never been attacked by a dog, she has this innate fear – so strong that she would be looking down the road to see if there should be a dog in the distance. And if there is one approaching, she would cross over to the other side.  Sometimes her fear would be so great that she would step onto the road without looking.

So I did not take her reaction towards me personally but instead I took on the challenge to win her over.  And this was the course of events …

Tuesday – Benedetta and Stefania arrived at our home. When we met, she was hiding behind her mummy. But she said bravely – I am not afraid of Darcy because she writes a blog! Sound alike a good enough reason! 🙂 But then every time I moved towards her, she would scurry away in fear, often holding on tightly to her mother’s arm.

Wednesday – we went to the Sporting Page for some fish-n-chips. As usual I was sitting under the table. But Benedetta could not sit unafraid because I was sitting on her side of the table – too close to her feet. So Mummy asked me to move to the other side.

Friday – they came to our home for dinner. And while Stefania was preparing supper, Benedetta sat in the living room watching telly but she soon got bored and came into the kitchen to see what was happening. Of course I was there and every time she moved, I wanted to see what was going on. And every time I moved, she would scuttle away in fear. I remained calm. Then at the opportune moment, I sat under her chair – she looked down at me and told her mother – “Darcy likes me.”

Saturday – we all went to Windsor together. Today, Benedetta started the day being more calm. But you can tell she was watching me from a distance.IMG_1981 She kept a watch on me – to be sure that I do not go anywhere near her.IMG_2047 They all went into Windsor Castle while we waited outside.  And guess what she came out with? For someone who is afraid of dogs, she bought a toy Corgi. And she wanted me to see it – though with a lot of hesitancy.IMG_2043 IMG_2044 IMG_2045 IMG_2046 But by lunch time, she was brave enough to give me some chips.IMG_2061And she wanted to show me her Corgi again.
IMG_2062When we finished lunch, she was walking close by when Mummy handed her my lead and she took it! Here she is holding my lead for the first time – probably the closest she has come to a canine.  You’re alright, Benedetta?IMG_2065 Let’s walk slowly together.IMG_2066 It’s nice to walk along life’s road with a friend.IMG_2067 Mummy, I think she’s going to be ok with me.IMG_2068It was time for some photo opps – and here’s Benedetta and Kai sitting down on the steps. She patted me and then urged me to sit in between them.IMG_2072 IMG_2074 IMG_2078Benedetta still holding onto my lead, I sat in between the two of them as we waited for the train to go home. It’s been a very different day for Benedetta.IMG_2090Sunday – her father called to speak about how brave she was with the “dog” and she corrected him – “it’s not dog, her name is Darcy!” Yes, seriously! 🙂

Tuesday – she came to say goodbye as we might not see her tomorrow when they leave to go home. She wanted to have her photo with her favourite teddy (that Mummy age her when she was born) and me with my teddy. I was even allowed to sit next to her. Well, actually she was sitting in my chair and we sat together.IMG_2239 IMG_2249From being absolutely terrified to wanting to have her photo taken with me – in one week, Benedetta has come a long way.  It was her sheer determination to overcome a fear that she knows is irrational.

We don’t know if and when Benedetta will overcome her fear for dogs (and cats, apparently) but I have done my part to let her know that she has nothing to fear with me.  I hope she will remember me fondly.  She did invite us to stay with her the next time we’re in Milano!

May’s comment: Well done, Darcy. She seems to have sensed that Benedetta’s movements were one of fear. For that, she only tried to gain her confidence. She would gently go up to Benedetta and never once jumped at her in excitement and not even when Benedetta would be scrambling to get away from her. Darcy moved away when told to. And she chose her moments to quietly be next to Benedetta to gain her confidence. She never barked when she was around and only had a waggy tail whenever she saw her.  Brava, Benedetta! Brava, Darcy!

5 Comments

  1. Margaret Danks

    What a lovely story MissDarcy, and well done May in overcoming the little girls fear, if not for all dogs then at least with MissDarcy.

  2. Samantha smith

    Well done, May and Darcy. May, you have an exceptionally intuitive dog there. Nature and nurture in equal balance in this case. Not all cockapoos are able to accept children and my two boys are very different from Darcey and each other. Jensen would have been rather distant to Beneditta and may not have bridged the gap so readily and Enzo may have had to lick her to death! This, given her fear would have needed interception from me. Perhaps if Darcey ever needs a job she should consider being a PAT dog. It’s not an easy road to take but I understand that the company of animals for those with greater troubles than us, makes a huge difference and not all dogs are capable of the balance Darcey has shown. You should be proud.

    • Miss Darcy

      Thank you Samantha, I have often thought about Darcy being a PAT dog – but the qualifications require commitment. But we will continue to look into it. We’ve been to visit Homes for the elderly and again, she sat on a friend’s lap – who was afraid of dogs but Darcy sat quietly and allowed to be stroked.

  3. Samantha smith

    Oops sorry I have added an e to Darcy. Feel free to change it.

  4. Miami Malteses

    Wow! Brava Benedetta! Brava, Darcy!! You are both brave ones mainly because dogs can sense fear and that in turn can make them afraid as welll. Darcy your persistence and perseverance in helping Benedetta conquer her fears not only show what a perceptive and kind doggy you are but is also a reflection of your Mummy’s great parenting and of her character as well! We swear she gave birth to you!

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.