This is the story of how Chester helped Violet overcome a strong fear in just one night. Christl and Joseph Matousek invited us to dinner at Figlmüller’s in the center of Vienna with four special guests: their daughters Nina and Lisa; Nina’s friend Jakob Rotheneder; and Nina’s dog, Chester. Violet has always been fearful of dogs, especially big ones. Chester, a full-size Labrador, was under the table when we arrived, so Violet didn’t see him at first. She was too busy working on the Punkt zu Punkt (dot-to-dot) books that Nina had brought her. But as we finished our delicious meal, Nina asked Violet if she would like to feed Chester her leftover chicken. Seeing how patient and permissive Chester was, Violet fed him three small pieces, began to pet this former therapy dog, and agreed to take him for a walk! The next day she happened to meet a dog that looked a lot like Chester at Joel’s friends’ house and petted her, too. Once she got home, she knocked on her next-door neighbor’s door and asked if she could take their dog for a walk. Knowing her previous fears, they were dumbfounded. Nina told her that she used to be afraid of dogs, too.
It had been at least 12 years since I had seen Nina and Lisa. Nina works for the Chamber of Labor and Lisa, for a law firm, where she will soon be a full-fledged lawyer. They both have boyfriends and live in the city. It was interesting to chat with Jakob, who works for the Austrian Financial Market Authority, which he compared with the new US Consumer Financial Protection Bureau set up by the Dodd-Frank Act in 2010–Austria’s agency is better established. I look forward to keeping up with all the younger generation, as well as their parents. It was such a lovely evening. Thank you Christl and Joseph!