Anxiety has become a prevalent issue among humans, but did you know that dogs can also suffer from anxiety? The overwhelming sense of unease, the shallow breaths, the tightness in the chest, and the world becoming a blur—imagine your furry companion experiencing the same.
Let us introduce you to Chilli Chihuahua, a vibrant little pup who struts alongside his sidekick Sukhi, an equally petite Chihuahua. Their content creator, Mummy Yasmin El-Saie, shares their journey. However, life isn’t always a walk in the park for Chilli. He is a reactive dog, grappling with anxiety that makes everyday situations overwhelming and stressful. “I had no idea that dogs could have mental health issues,” Yasmin confides, her voice heavy with emotion. “It took Chilli’s anxiety for me to realize that I am just as anxious as he is! It was as if Chilli became my mirror, reflecting the extreme state I found myself in. Every time I stepped out of the house, I could feel my heart racing, dreading the outside world. And I saw it mirrored in his tense little body, bracing himself for the unexpected.”
Over the years, Chilli and Yasmin have nurtured a special bond, working closely together to support Chilli in every possible way. “I didn’t want Chilli to become an unmanageable dog that I had to leave at home. I always wanted him to be a part of my life, considering his needs and boundaries,” explains Yasmin.
Yasmin has developed coping mechanisms for both herself and Chilli. For instance, she never leaves home without a dog bag. “The bag serves as Chilli’s safe space—a cave-like retreat where he can seek solace when public places become overwhelming. Additionally, his yellow gear helps communicate to people that he requires space. He isn’t comfortable with strangers approaching him.” Yasmin leads a yogic lifestyle, finding solace in meditation, sound therapy, and breathwork to regulate her own nervous system. “It’s fascinating to observe Chilli’s reactions to practices like meditation, Reiki healing, and sound baths. He chooses to engage in experiences that bring him peace, and witnessing his relaxation and receptiveness is truly incredible.”
Years of learning and training have inspired Yasmin to share her experience of living with an anxious dog through the “I am anxious too!” campaign, accessible via Chilliwawa’s Instagram account and website. Each week, Yasmin and Chilli offer tips and insights on how to support and begin the healing process for both dogs and their owners. “I love using social media as a platform to raise awareness for this crucial cause. People are often unaware that not all dogs are relaxed and easy to approach. And when a dog reacts unexpectedly, the person may not understand and unfairly judge the dog as bad or aggressive. It would be wonderful if more people were aware of dog anxiety and reactivity, helping us avoid unmanageable situations for dogs. We simply need to learn how to understand them better!”
Join the “I am anxious too!” campaign and follow Chilli Chihuahua’s journey as they shed light on canine anxiety, striving to create a more compassionate and understanding world for our furry friends.