April: What have you got for lunch today, Chun-ming? Oh! Your bento box looks cool.
Chun-ming: Thanks! I bought it in Tokyo last year. Well … I got up early and prepared some chicken, rice and vegetables with teriyaki sauce.
April: Mmm … that sounds really nice compared to mine! All I’ve got is a tuna sandwich and an apple from the convenience store nearby. Where shall we eat? Oh … there’s an empty bench over there under the trees.
Chun-ming: Erm ... not there, please! It’s right next to the dog playground, and you know I’m not a dog person at all. How about the other bench behind the bin?
April: Sure. So, what’s with you and dogs? Are you allergic to them?
Chun-ming: No, nothing like that. I’m guess I’m just scared of them. My mouth goes dry and I get a tight feeling in my chest, whenever I see one. I looked it up online a while ago and it looks like I suffer from cynophobia.
April: What phobia?
Chun-ming: Cynophobia. A phobia is a fear of something. Just like how people with claustrophobia panic if they are shut in a small space, I get really anxious when I see dogs.
April: Right. Were you attacked by one when you were young?
Chun-ming: Not at all. It’s just that I’ve been like this since I was a kid. There is no explanation really, except that I have a panic attack whenever a dog comes anywhere near me. And some dog owners are really inconsiderate. They let their dogs run around unleashed in the parks without thinking there might be people who are scared of them.
April: Gosh. I’m so sorry to hear that. Actually, I might be one of those thoughtless owners you mentioned. We let our beagle, Biscuit, off the leash sometimes. He is friendly with everyone and always comes when called. Thanks for letting me know though. I’ll be sure to only let him off the leash when we’re in a familiar park or playground.
Chun-ming: Thank you, I’d really appreciate that.
April: No problem, I do hope you’ll be able to overcome your phobia one day! Now, let’s grab that bench before anyone else does! We don’t have much time to finish our lunch before getting back to work.