-Was there one specific incident which spurred your fear of dogs?
When I was a baby, a neighbor's dog tried to bite me. My parents say that I was sacred ever since then. While I have no memory of it, that sort of thing gets programmed in you.
-Did your fear of dogs have any social implications? In other words, did it negatively affect your social life or your daily interactions?
Sure - there were friends' houses I didn't want to go to, girls I had trouble dating, and the constant worry of looking like a weenie whenever we passed one.
-It is my understanding that your attitude towards dogs began to change after you met your wife, a shelter volunteer. How did she begin to change your perception of dogs?
She educated me. She showed me hours and hours of dog shows, introduced me to some of the more well behaved dogs at the shelter, and just taught me a lot about how owners mold their dogs, not the other way around.
|The irresistible Bea Arthur|
We were in the market for a dog, but the right dog. We had turned others down. But Bea was so well behaved and so cute, it was hard to say no. Okay, that's a lie - it was impossible.
-I have to ask…Bea Arthur? Is there a story behind this name, or are you just a huge Golden Girls fan?
We're fans of the show. We used to watch it every night before we went to sleep (til we'd pretty much seen them all). We wanted to name her after something comedy related because of what I do, but all my favorite legends are men. Suddenly, Sara suggested Bea Arthur, and it just fit. She's stoic and doesn't have time for silly bitches.
-How has adding Bea to the family changed your life (for better or worse)?
We're a lot more tired than we used to be (and about $1200 poorer already). But we feel like we're a family now - and I'm in the best shape I've been in in a while.
-Now that you have a dog of your own, is your fear completely under control or are there still some lingering hesitations?
|Steve and Bea|
-For those readers of Mad About Pets who may have a fear of dogs, in your experience, how do you begin to overcome that fear?
Watch a great deal of Animal Planet. And just understand that not all dogs are the same - kind of like people that way, but they sleep more.