Dogs & Anxiety

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You know that saying, “Who rescued who?” well, I feel as though that applies greatly to my dog, Aspen. I had always wanted a dog, but up until two years ago, I never had one. Then, Aspen came into my life and rescued me.

She is a calming presence in my life (she is actually just laying by me as I write this, calming me down). Even though sometimes she is not so calm; like the moment I walk in from being gone at work and she hasn’t seen me all day, my day feels more complete when she is there wagging her tail and jumping up and down.

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I used to feel like “emotional support dog” wasn’t really a thing. I thought people just used the “certification” as a way to take their pup everywhere they went, but Aspen truly is an emotional support dog.

If I am having a bad day and I just really need to sit on my bed and relax, or I need to get some fresh air after having an anxiety attack, she is right there, ready to do whatever it takes to make me feel better.

At first, I had anxiety about Aspen, and sometimes I still do. But, when I first adopted her, she used to lay under my feet when I sat on the couch and I was constantly worried that I was going to forget she was there and I would step on her and hurt her. Or I would be nervous that someone was going to come and steal her during the day. I just was constantly stressed out about what could possibly happen if I did any little thing wrong.

After a while though, having her around became my saving grace. If I was having anxiety and didn’t really want to be talked down from the anxiety attack and I just needed to breathe for a few minutes, she just came in and sat on my bed, or sat in the chair in my room. She never tried to invade the space that I needed, or get my attention when I was having an anxiety attack, she would just sit there quietly being in the same space as me.

Even when I am not having an anxiety attack or I am not stressed or nervous or whatever the day may hold, she makes me feel so much better about life. After work when I am able to take her on a walk; whether it be to the dog park or just around my apartment complex, she makes the day better. Her excitement for life and her never ending joy brings that same excitement and joy into my life, lifting my spirits and making me feel so much better. She is such a happy dog that you can’t help but smile.

Maybe all of that sounds a little odd… a dog taking away or at least helping your anxiety, but their overwhelming joy is contagious. Dogs are selfless. They care for you and the others around you. If their basic needs are met, they are overjoyed and if you go above and beyond, they will give you so much love you will be overflowing with it. Dogs don’t ask for much. They just give more than you could ever ask for.

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