Our expert says:
OK, most inconvenient. We need to distinguish between two types of issue. It is natural, normal, and probably safest, for us to feel rather scared of and at least cautious about, large animals which bite, snakes, spiders, scorpions, and so on. Yes, some people are not scared of them, but usually have the sense to still interact with them sensibly and cautiously.
The second problem is one's fear is beyond the rational and reasonable, and excessive, ( like someone so scared 0of spiders that even knowing there's a tiny one in the next room makes them feel awful ) so that it in itself causes problems, and where it is inappropriate ( being scared of fluffy rabbits or chicken chicks, perhaps ). In these cases, we are likely to be dealing with a phobia.
Fortunately, phobias respond really well to treatment. The best treatment is some sessions of CBT ( Cognitive-Behaviour Therapy ) which needn't take long. This i usually more effective than treatment by medication alone, though some meds carefully used may give some additional benefits.
Its a pity your kids first dog experiences weren't with small cuddly puppies rather than large and intimidating species, but discuss this with the child psychiatrist while the kids are being treated, and make a wise decision.
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