Emily Hess shared how she overcame a severe case of arachnophobia by caring for an Asiatic wall jumping spider she named Gretel. Hess explained that it took some time before she and Gretel could get close to each other, but they developed a truly loving relationship once they did.
I have always been really afraid of spiders. I realized i’m the big scary thing and she didn’t want to touch me either…We were both very nervous and worked on that slowly together…so after quite a while I learned i need to let her come to me….it wasn’t scary at all, it was adorable. After quite a while she genuinely seemed to enjoy just sitting and hanging out with me.
Hess built an enclosure for Gretel that led to her favorite leafy spot. When Gretel had difficulty climbing to that spot due to her advancing age, Hess fashioned open loop material giving Gretel a better foothold. In taking care of Gretel, Hess learned that she was helping others get over their fear of spiders.
If we can learn more about the things that we fear it really takes away a lot of that mystery.
Jumping spiders only live for about a year, and Gretel passed away in November 2021. Since that time, Hess has adopted other jumping spiders – Panda, Peanut, and Sid, to just name a few.