Marie Louise McConville: My fear of dogs is not irrational

Many people have told me my fear of dogs is irrational - it's not
Many people have told me my fear of dogs is irrational - it's not

It always raises eyebrows.

I've lost count of the number of times people have told me that my fear of dogs is irrational - it's not.

Whenever the issue comes up in conversation, I have to be totally honest.

It's like this, if you have a dog, it's unlikely I will ever visit your home.

Even if you could muzzle the dog and lock it in a cage, in a shed, in an underground bunker and lock the back door and all inner doors and then block the door of the room we are in with a heavy bookcase, I would still be on edge.

My fear actually goes right into the very root of my being and there's nothing I can do about it - I scream, I run for my life, it leaves me nauseous and anxious.

Of course, most dog owners will tell you that their little pooch "wouldn't hurt a fly" and is "just excited" to see you but at the end of the day, nobody knows what their pet is capable of.

Last week in Surrey, a 28-year-old woman was mauled to death by dogs.

The victim had been walked a number of dogs in the Caterham area on January 12 when the fatal attack happened.

Police detained eight dogs at the scene, all remain in custody, and their owners have been identified.

A second woman who was also injured has since been discharged from hospital.

Such an awful, tragic incident, which highlights the dangers posed by dogs which can get out of control.

In recent times there have been numerous reports of children and adults attacked by both their own pets and those belonging to others.

Some victims have been left scarred for life after suffering horrific injuries.

Now aged eight, our Abbie is absolutely desperate for a puppy but there is no chance whatsoever.

I have never trusted dogs and never will and there is no chance I would leave my children alone in their company.

There are some lovely walking trails near where we live but unfortunately, we don't get to use them because of dogs. Despite signs informing owners to keep their animals on a lead for the safety of all, unfortunately many don't.

I don't feel I could protect my kids should an unleashed dog make a beeline for them and so, we just don't use the paths.

Don't get me wrong, I know the vast majority of dog owners are responsible but there are many who aren't and leave their dogs off the lead, free to run around, with whoever and at whoever.

It's time there were stricter laws and consequences for those who can't be responsible pet owners so that shocking incidents with devastating consequences never happen again.


While the Critics' Choice Awards brought plenty of controversy this week, there was also the delight of seeing the wonderful Christina Applegate making her first awards show appearance since announcing her MS diagnosis.

The 51-year-old actress, who is best known for movies including Bad Moms and Anchorman, was pictured backstage at the event at the Fairmont Century Plaza Hotel in Los Angeles.

Supporting herself with a silver cane, the star looked beautiful alongside her 11-year-old daughter Sadie Grace LeNoble, who accompanied her.

Unfortunately, she missed out on an award but it was just great to see her out and about.



Who fancies winning 'a gripping thriller which will have you racing through the pages'?

Through Her Eyes by NJ Moss has been described as a 'compelling new psychological thriller'.

Jess spends most of her time alone to hide her obsession - prowling the streets, looking into other people’s homes, sneaking glimpses of their private lives.

A husband stands at the sink, washing blood off his hands. His wife, nearby, has a dejected expression.

So, when Jess witnesses this, a simmering anger is unleashed.

She may be a loner, but Jess won’t stand by when another woman is being abused.

But what you see through a window is only ever part of the story, and plans don’t always work out as intended.

I have three copies of Through Her Eyes to give away.

If you would like the chance to win a copy, simply email your name, address and telephone number – along with the answer to the question below – to

Closing date for entries is noon on Tuesday January 24.

(Q) Who wrote Through Her Eyes?

Normal Irish News rules apply


The winner of the Anything for Love competition is Paula Meighan, from Glengormley

The winner of the Tourism NI competition is Louise McKenna, from Clogher