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My Dog Is the Best Medicine for My Anxiety

The best medicine your general practitioner can’t prescribe.

Do you ever just have those days where you end up lying on the floor? I mean, yeah we have these fancy things called sofas now, but nothing beats the floor, right? Yes? No? Just me?

Bad day? Floor.

Pain day? Floor.

Overthinking? Floor.

People around and it’s making you anxious? Floor.

Recently, lying on the floor hasn’t been helping my “down” days. It used to be my quick-fix break from my head and body. At least for a while, it would quell my anxiety and redirect my thought bubbles. It would tether me to the present, rather than pinging between past and future portals in my own little anxiety tardis (a time machine and spacecraft from “Dr. Who”). A tardis that also happened to be invaded by… well, in this analogy? To keep it light, let’s call them daleks (an extraterrestrial race of mutants from “Dr. Who”).

For the past month, the floor has not been my Dr. Who coming to the rescue (sorry, getting carried away with this analogy, aren’t I?). I guess it never has been.

It was lying on the floor and subsequently hearing these little claws clatter across tiles and creep across the carpet to join me. It was lying on the floor and having this little, fluffy, warm beat lie into my side, whose presence was an unspoken “I love you.”

It was unconsciously (after 14 years) reaching down and knowing a fluffy head or hind would appear. It was lying on the floor and having her steady breathing realign mine, like a metronome — constant.

Mino (my now angel of a pup) was, in this growingly dystopian world, my constant. My reminder to not take life so seriously, to remember what truly matters and to “be more dog.”

She was my hack to mindfulness and meditation without having to actively drag myself out of a spiral. My “get out of jail free card.” My cheat to a better day. We might have been lying on the floor, but it was her who was keeping me grounded.

I don’t know if I can speak for everyone with a chronic illness/mental health condition, but I know a lot of us can end up feeling like a burden. It can be hard to accept the people who say they love us, actually do. In fact, it can drive you nuts because you can just come to see yourself as this massive problem. You physically cannot see yourself outside of this box that, over the years, you’ve taped yourself into.

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However, love from your dog? Well, from my experience, it can be the only form of love your brain will believe and accept sometimes. The only kind you can receive and not want to scream from guilt. It’s a pure love, no fish love, no lies, no guilt, no superficial reasoning behind it. It’s real. It’s raw. It’s healing.

There is probably some sciency, chemical, hormonal reason dogs can make us feel this way. But in its simplest form? It’s love. Unconditional love.

The amount of people who have gotten dogs over lockdown does scare me, like I am sure it does any animal lover. The increase in puppy farms, overbreeding, etc. But it also gives me hope someone else will find their healing. I couldn’t deny anyone of that.

Dogs, huh? The best medicine your general practitioner can’t prescribe.

Original photo by author