A story about two little boys and one barking dog.
by Jane Heald.
Two little boys, Billy and Bobby, were neighbors.
One Saturday a new family moved into a vacant house on their street.
The new family had a large dog, Bruno, whom they chained out in their yard.
The next day, when the boys and their mothers were walking past, Bruno lunged at them, barking.
The chain held, but the children were startled and began to cry and tremble–terrified.
To tell the truth, their mothers were frightened, too.
Billy’s mother took his hand and kept on walking, rather faster than before, dragging Billy along. “He didn’t hurt you. See? He’s chained up. Be a big boy and stop crying. Come on, we’re going to be late to church.”
Bobby’s mother took his hand too, and walked on until she found a step she could sit down on. Then she took Bobby on her lap and held him while he cried and shook. “That was scary, wasn’t it?” she said, “but we’re okay now.”
After several minutes of sobbing and shaking, Bobby cautiously opened his eyes and peeked at the dog. Finally, calmly, he said, “Let’s go home on the other side of the street.”
When human beings are given caring, aware attention, they are able to process experiences and discharge emotions. Then they can think clearly.
In the weeks following this incident, Bobby showed great respect for Bruno, but went on about his business.
On the contrary, Billy developed a fear of dogs that is still with him. He still avoids situations involving dogs, which limits his life.
In co-counseling it would be possible for Billy to “work on” his fear of dogs, doing the crying and shaking in sessions that he didn’t have a chance to do at the time.
It’s never too late to come to terms with Bruno.
Co-counseling is a structured way of taking turns giving each other caring, aware attention so that we can discharge old and new hurts. Then we can think clearly and have real choices about how to respond to the situations in our present lives.
Jane is a long-time co-counselor
She lives in Tennessee
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