An Old Dog's New Tricks

Gentle Pooch Helped a Hasidic Girl Overcome Fear of Dogs

Lisa Anchin

By Judy Brown (Eishes Chayil)

Published February 04, 2013, issue of February 08, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

(page 7 of 7)

Weeks passed. Sometimes, after school, I’d stand outside the gate, peering down the block, waiting. But Diana and Sammy never came. Other times, I walked past the block on East Second, trying to guess which house she lived in, but I saw only strangers and closed doors. I wanted to ask, but there was no one who would have known where the gentile lady and her forbidden dog had gone. Diana and Sammy had disappeared. They were there, then they were not. I never saw them again.

Years passed.

Today, I often watch my children play with dogs on the lawn in Central Park. They play fetch with them, taking turns throwing sticks. The dogs’ owners watch from the sidelines.

I remember feeling surprised at how quickly my children took to animals, and at the joy they expressed while playing with them. I was certain that my fear was genetic, an inherent part of my DNA. Yet I quickly discovered that children aren’t afraid of animals. What they are afraid of is the fear in their mothers’ faces, the vulnerability in their older siblings’ eyes. For a child, any creature that can so frighten a parent must be a terrible thing. And so the wound is passed on like a holy tradition.

Sometimes, as I watch my children jumping playfully with a puppy, or making a beeline for the kittens on a stranger’s porch, I think about Diana and Sammy. As I child I thought about them often, wondering where they had gone and if they were happy. I can still see them like it was yesterday, my little hand sticking through the hole in the fence, reaching out to the old lady and the gentle, waiting dog that taught me not to be afraid.

Judy Brown wrote the novel “Hush” under the pseudonym Eishes Chayil. “Inside Out” is her essay series about life in the ultra-Orthodox world. It is based on true events, but her characters’ names and identities have been changed; some are composites, comprising several real-life people.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • Yeshiva University's lawyer wanted to know why the dozens of former schoolboys now suing over a sexual abuse cover-up didn't sue decades ago. Read the judge's striking response here.
  • It’s over. The tyranny of the straight-haired, button nosed, tan-skinned girl has ended. Jewesses rejoice!
  • It's really, really, really hard to get kicked out of Hebrew school these days.
  • "If Netanyahu re-opens the settlement floodgates, he will recklessly bolster the argument of Hamas that the only language Israel understands is violence."
  • Would an ultra-Orthodox leader do a better job of running the Met Council?
  • So, who won the war — Israel or Hamas?
  • 300 Holocaust survivors spoke out against Israel. Did they play right into Hitler's hands?
  • Ari Folman's new movie 'The Congress' is a brilliant spectacle, an exhilarating visual extravaganza and a slapdash thought experiment. It's also unlike anything Forward critic Ezra Glinter has ever seen. http://jd.fo/d4unE
  • The eggplant is beloved in Israel. So why do Americans keep giving it a bad rap? With this new recipe, Vered Guttman sets out to defend the honor of her favorite vegetable.
  • “KlezKamp has always been a crazy quilt of gay and straight, religious and nonreligious, Jewish and gentile.” Why is the klezmer festival shutting down now?
  • “You can plagiarize the Bible, can’t you?” Jill Sobule says when asked how she went about writing the lyrics for a new 'Yentl' adaptation. “A couple of the songs I completely stole." Share this with the theater-lovers in your life!
  • Will Americans who served in the Israeli army during the Gaza operation face war crimes charges when they get back home?
  • Talk about a fashion faux pas. What was Zara thinking with the concentration camp look?
  • “The Black community was resistant to the Jewish community coming into the neighborhood — at first.” Watch this video about how a group of gardeners is rebuilding trust between African-Americans and Jews in Detroit.
  • "I am a Jewish woman married to a non-Jewish man who was raised Catholic, but now considers himself a “common-law Jew.” We are raising our two young children as Jews. My husband's parents are still semi-practicing Catholics. When we go over to either of their homes, they bow their heads, often hold hands, and say grace before meals. This is an especially awkward time for me, as I'm uncomfortable participating in a non-Jewish religious ritual, but don't want his family to think I'm ungrateful. It's becoming especially vexing to me now that my oldest son is 7. What's the best way to handle this situation?" http://jd.fo/b4ucX What would you do?
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.