Unfortunately, I suffer from severe Cynophobia. Cynophobia, also known as fear of dogs, stems from the Greek word cyno meaning dog and phobos meaning fear or terror. It’s actually quite embarassing and not something I am proud of at all. I have had many violent arguments & fights with friends in the past who believe that their dog is the one that will make all the difference and help me get over my fear. Sadly, those who are lucky enough not to suffer from Cynophobia just don’t understand.

I must admit, that there was “Sparky”, the world’s most beautiful golden lab, who actually managed to help me reduce my fear a few years ago. I took him for walks, played around with him, and pet him as well at times. However, he turned out to be the only dog that I could stand around me and the fear never completely went away.

I walked in to work this morning and one of my close friends from childhood had sent me and another friend of ours an e-mail. It has got to be one of the funniest e-mails ever and I can’t believe that my friend is actually going to have to face our worst nightmare now! Poor guy.

“By the way, I think both of you can appreciate this. I have a pretty decent shot at getting a gig for the Summer. It’s pretty much exactly what I want to do and I was really excited to hear that I have final rounds next week (keeping fingers crossed). So, of course on a day when everything is working out, God throws a wrench into the plans. The office space has 2 large labradors just chilling, roaming around the office!!! I had a 10-15 second totally awkward confrontation with one of them, who I think now senses my fear. Anyways, when I was visibly frazzled and they asked me if I was ok, I just told them I was surprised by the dogs, and they laughed and said that they are part of the family! So, obviously they won’t give a shit if I told them about my fear (which in itself is probably not a good idea for my chances).

I tell you guys all this because a) I think it’s hilarious, and b) you guys obviously understand my fear. I don’t really know what to do (if things actually work out…which are obviously not a given so I shouldn’t get ahead of myself here). But if it does, the job starts immediately. On a serious note, have any of you had any success overcome your fears? I’m thinking of grabbing a self-help book on it or something, because this is just too much!

Anyways, thanks for listening and have a smashing weekend.”

If it was me, I would not take the job. But I guess you have to suck it up and deal with absolutely anything as beggers can’t be chosers in today’s financial crisis. Poor guy!

*The picture above has been taken from*



  1. I remember you around my dog as well. We had to lock it and keep it away while you were over. Its fine though as I’m like that with snakes ha ha

  2. Sana K · · Reply

    I’m also quite scared of dogs but I wouldn’t say its a phobia. My fear is specific to which breed of dog it is – I’m terrified of German Shepherds for example.
    Omar I have seen you around dogs and the way you’re scared of them is hilarious. Remember when we were in Hyde park and all of a sudden you got up and ran off? When I looked, I realized that there was a dog, which was around 50 feet away from you. I can’t believe you left me all alone with that dog while I was screaming your name for help.
    Anyway as long as you pretend you’re not scared and keep breathing right dogs dont say anything. It’s when you show them you’re scared or look at them that they go in attack mode.

  3. Who was the friend in the email – did his name start with a T and end with a U? Hahahaha!

    I still remember Riziki with Romeo, and when she pretended he was running after Omar, I have never seen you run so fast in my entire life.

    Sana don’t be afraid of German Shepherds! They are the most intelligent and wonderful dogs ever!

  4. Kalsoom, I’m glad you didn’t spell out the entire name at least! ha ha.

    You must admit, I was great with Sparky, Tariq’s dog. I even took him for walks around E-7 but just couldn’t allow him to bring his face anywhere near me …
    He was a very well behaved dog.

  5. I’m Cynophobic too! 😦

  6. Great to finally know the name for my ILLNESS. I am petrified of dogs and going to the park, having lunch outdoors or living in a pet friendly building has become quite difficult. A friend recommended an amazing hair salon for me and I walked in and two giant beast dogs came running up to me. I honestly thought my heart was going to stop beating. Anyways, I told them it was not possible for me to stay and get my haircut while there were dogs running around….

    Omar, I know of someone that has recently started seeing a therapist that specializes in people’s fear of dogs (in nyc). You should pass on the info to your friend.

  7. Are you scared of french poodle also?

  8. I had a close encounter with a dog the other day. To top it off, the owner decided to take the leash off and the dog started to come towards me so I obviously screamed.

    You know how scared I am of dogs. Imagine what I must be going through thinking about what I’m gonna have to live with!

  9. Amina · · Reply

    Omar, I find this to be really funny since it seems like you are telling my story. I bet Ruchika can tell you some stories about me being chased by dogs at Clark. I have had so many people who have tried to help me get over this fear and not to mention my willingness to help myself, but I have come to a conclusion that this is a problem I have to live with forever – Arrgghhh! It think its sad because I am always hesitant about sitting at a park, going to the beach or hiking in fear of finding an unleashed dogs. So this is to tell you, you are not the only one -Rumor has it, hypnotism can fix it 🙂

  10. Mehnaz · · Reply

    Cyno what? Surely, ther e must be some ilaaj for this?..and when you find out what it is..treat yourself before the M MONSTER arrives coz otherwise you’ll have cynomenzy..

  11. Dude, you’re not the only 1! My brother and his friend are both running all over the park. Not for excersize but because they are scared of the dogs. It’s crazy funny

  12. Sana K · · Reply

    Omarrrr I just remembered another hilarious dog story of yours:
    Remember when there was a police dog on the street once and you looked at it and ran and the policeman and dog started running after you thinking you had something to hide? Hahahahaha-I can never forget that story!

  13. Didn’t you once take a turtle to school in elementary school for pet day only to find out everyone had brought dogs?

  14. I can relate to this post completely! I don’t understand why people cant put their dogs on leads in parks (or public places). It’s positively traumatic for someone like me!

  15. Puffer · · Reply

    Oh my god. This has to be the greatest post ever. I remember you almost died when you saw my dog. The Animal day…. wasn’t that Mrs. Sandquist’s class? I think you stayed in the principles office to be safe. Could be wrong though. Tough getting old and my memory isn’t what it used to be.

  16. Yasmin · · Reply

    Hey Omar – my mum has the same problem, she was attacked as a child and grew to be terrified of even the tiniest pooches. So it became a bit of a problem for her to come and stay with us after we found and adopted a gorgeous puppy who has now grown into a 40kg monster. I literallly have memories of my mother nearly passing out when even small dogs would come up to sniff her, so you can imagine that being in the same house with such a big dog was not an option.
    The first trip she came, he spent the whole 2 weeks outside. The next time she came, we started to try to get them acquainted slowly – just a few minutes per day. He seemed to understand on his own that she was not comfortable and pretty much steered clear of her.
    The next step was to give her treats to pass to him, to get some kind of connection/interaction going. I am amazed to see my mother sitting in the same room as a dog nowadays, after so many years of blind fear, it blows my mind. Not only is she quite comfortable to be around him (as long as he doesn’t come to lick her) my dad and brother took advantage of the improved situation to get 3 dogs at our country house. She is now friends with the whole unruly bunch and is secretly more fond of them that even we are 🙂
    If it helps or comforts you at all, your friend doesn’t need to worry that a Labrador has sensed his fear – they are the gentlest dogs in the world and most likely will just keep away from him in any case. Tell him to take the job and not to forget to put some treats in his pocket on the first day 🙂

  17. A good friend has a phobia of Frogs. So bad that being near any pond or stream she gets anxious. She passed a stone frog doorstop outside a pub and jumped a foot in the air.
    I am suggesting hypnotism

  18. Omar, I’m trying hypnotherapy, need to get over it if I’m going to live with three dogs…I’ll let you know how it works out. By the way, my therapist is in Cali so we do the therapy on video, its great, whoever is interested, I can give you her number…Omar know who I am..

  19. Ijaz Ul Haq · · Reply

    I gave a long response on a story about my xenophobia and how I made an exception once because i had to live and survive. Unfortunately,the entire story got wiped out. Omar! if you recieve this let me know so I can write more.

  20. Sophie · · Reply

    Omar, LOVE this story. And it just reminded me of all your hilarious schinanigans in high school trying to stay away from our various (and extremely tame) dogs.

  21. NC, please contact my friend in NYC and tell him about the therapist as he would appreciate it. You have his contact number as well.

    Sophie, Spotty – your dog and Chocolate Chip, Snoopy, Butterscotch, Vanilla, Tutti Fruity, Brownie, & Lollypop – your cats were all stray, from the street, and NOT tame! ha ha.

    David, your dog was pretty scary. Do you remember the time when we went to the bat cave with James Medina and his family? Umm, they forgot to tell me that their DOG was coming along to the bat cave as well and I had a major panic attack in the bat cave, which was dark and all I could hear was panting around me. I didn’t even bother about the damn bats and was too busy focusing on that Dog, which had to be kept on a leash, even on the bus ride there. Oh, and yes, it was Mrs. Sandquists 4th grade class when we had Pet Day and I brought a turtle and a random baby chick to work only to find 19 dogs in the class room. At first, I just stood on the table but then it became too much so I just hid in the principal’s office. I still get nightmares …

    Desi Lawyer, you’re a lawyer. For god sake, try to come up with some law which just forces owners to keep their animals in the privacy of their bedroom!

    Amina, Ruchika never mentioned your fear to me but has witnessed my panic attacks quite a lot. Maybe it’s an Islamabadi thing?

    Menzy – Luca & I are just not ready to be friends yet. The G man needs to understand.

    Sana, the police story was not funny. I had the flu, was sneezing liek a maniac, and left work early to go home. I came out of the tube station and sneezed so my eyes were shut and I was blowing my nose only to open my eyes and see a dog standing near my crotch. Obviously I had to run backwards and make a fool out of myself. To top it all off… the policeman freaked out when he began to question me and found out I was Pakistani too! ha ha

  22. Sophie · · Reply

    Are you kidding? I had Spotty for 14 years! And my cats were NOT from the street. How rude. You’re just jealous because Spotty was the cutest/tamest/most over excited dog. I miss Spotty! 🙂

  23. Sophie · · Reply

    My mum was going to get another dog last week. A rescued stray. But she took my aunt and seven year old cousin to see it, and the dog attacked my aunt, so that ended that idea.

  24. But if I have to adopt him as a son..surely you can befriend him..will you not meet my son??

  25. sharmine · · Reply

    remember how scared u were of my dogs?
    and mine was like this lil tiny lil tiny lil creature – notice the amount of times i have said lil and tiny
    i know what to get u as a birthday present

  26. Ankit · · Reply

    Do you remember my dog? He was harmless!! Poor soul. He hardly barked and you were shit scared of him!

  27. You’ll love Dogs once you get over the fear. I swear!

  28. And this is why I love Pakistan – ha ha –\13\story_13-7-2009_pg13_7

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