05 April 2017

A grateful schoolboy has written a personal account of how Bedfordshire CAMHS has helped him make huge strides in overcoming his phobia of dogs. Markus, from Bedfordshire, was supported over two months by Dr Savina Wachter who arranged visits at Thrift End Farm Canine and Pet Centre.

“Despite having a severe phobia of dogs, Markus has shown tremendous courage and strength in overcoming his fears,” said Dr Wachter.

“Through structured sessions at the canine centre he has been able to stroke a number of dogs, given different dogs including a Great Dane treats and has even been able to walk a dog on the lead on his own. Well done Markus!”

How CAMHS helped with my fear of dogs
By Markus from Bedfordshire
On my first visit to the canine centre I was so scared I couldn’t bring myself to get out of the car. Eventually after being reassured that there were no dogs running free I got out and went towards a fenced field where there were two dogs inside, Jake (a medium sized dog that had black and white fur) and Lockie (a small dog that was a golden brown colour like nice toast). I was given a tennis ball and threw it over the fence so Jake could run after the ball. Mo, one of the centre owners, then kindly brought Lockie out of the field closer to me so I could stroke her while she was being held by the collar.
I went back two days later to feed some treats to the dogs in the cages with Lee, the other owner of the centre.
At my next session with Dr Wachter we agreed I would visit the centre three more times with my dad. I fed all of the dogs in the kennels again during my next visit and met Pixie, a little Jack Russell. I eventually let Pixie smell me while she was being held, but I felt scared whenever she would walk towards me. Two days later I went again and basically repeated all the stuff I did last time. Lee, the other owner of the centre, suggested that I grabbed a chair and let Pixie sit on my lap. My reaction was “NO, NO NO NO JUST NO.
I eventually grabbed the chair and sat down but any time Pixie went near me I fell off the chair and scurried away. However, after blackmailing my Dad for a reward, I did it, and it was fine. Pixie just quietly sat on me, although I was still nervous about her claws, but after walking her for a few more minutes I even wanted Pixie to sit on my lap again. On my final session I repeated everything and went in the field to walk Pixie. I also met a dog named Molly.
I am now a LOT less nervous being around dogs. There is no instant fix for things that make you really afraid but the counselling from CAMHS has helped me so much and I am looking forward to improving further.Maybe CAMHS can help you too?