First, I’m sorry for my bad English. I'll try to do my best though. So, I thing I have a really weird problem. I love furries since I was 14 (something like that), but I’m afraid of animals. I can't even approach a dog, or I have to control myself. My question is, is it normal to be like this? I'm a furry, I love artworks about it, and I can't touch any animals. Isn't it a shame for someone like me?
Thanks in advance, it's really bothering me...
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This is a new one on me, really. One of the traits of every furry I have thus far met is that they are animal lovers. There must be something you like about animals—their fur, their tales, wings, snouts, something—that attracts you to them, otherwise you would not be a furry.
Yet the disconnect between reality and fantasy is not unique to you. For example, many a young girl falls in love with her collection of plastic horses, but get her near a real horse and she screams in terror and runs away. I love bears, but I certainly would not want to stand face to face with a real grizzly in its natural habitat. Same thing, likely, with all those wolf furries out there who, I would bet, would be most uncomfortable hiking in Montana only to come across a pack of real live timber wolves.
Those are cases, of course, of wild animals (except for the horses). You say you are afraid of all animals, including dogs, cats, pet birds, even fish? One possible explanation is that you have had a traumatic past experience with a pet. You don’t mention that, but it is also possible that it happened when you were very young and your mind is suppressing the experience. It might not even be a real-life experience that triggered the fear. For instance, a lot of people came to fear sharks because of the movie Jaws, or big dogs because of the movie Cujo, or rats from the movie Ben.
Sometimes, too, fears are just in your head for no reason. The very definition of phobia is “irrational fear.” Some pet phobias include:
and so on...
And, of course, there’s my favorite, Arachnophobia, the fear of spiders. I don’t exactly pee my pants at the site of the spider, and I’m fine with most of them, even tarantulas, but I totally freak out at the sight of a black widow spider. That’s not really an irrational phobia, because I know someone who was bitten by a venomous spider, but I do understand how an animal can make your skin crawl. It’s a good thing you don’t have Maskaphobia, or, seriously, the fear of masks, because then you’d never be able to go to a furry convention.
Why people fear some specific things is not always well understood. If it is not caused by a traumatic event in the past, it could be a learned behavior from your parents or other family members, for example. There might, in some cases, even be a case for genetic memory. That is, for example, our ancestors learning that some snakes were venomous and becoming afraid of them and that fear somehow being encoded in our brains over generations. This might seem a good explanation for some fears, such as snakes, falling, wolves, etc., but not for others, such as the fear of cheese (Turophobia) or the fear of beards (Pogonophobia). If you have the latter, don’t look at me.
Your fear of cats and dogs could be a manifestation of ancestral fears of such things as wolves and lions—a stretching-it hypothesis. I would vote that, more likely, it has to do with something in your past or a learned behavior.
Like all behaviors, the good news is that you can unlearn it. The basic approach is to face your fears in a controlled, step-by-step manner, gradually exposing yourself to the thing you fear in a safe environment, and slowly increasing your exposure to it. Here’s a useful explanation of that: http://www.wikihow.com/Overcome-Phobia.
Perhaps your interest in the furry fandom is you unconsciously trying to get over that fear in your own way. You know, many furcons donate money to animal charities. You might try going to a furcon—an environment where you would feel safe and surrounded by people you like—and talk to the people at one of those charities and look at the animals they often bring with them. Tell them about your phobia and see if they might not let you touch or pet one of their animals. Doing so under the supervision of a pet handler might make it easier for you.
So that is the long-winded response to your question. While fearing animals is not a hugely unusual phobia, it is quite uncommon among furries, but the good news is that you can overcome your fear if you really wish to.
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