London, UK, May 18th 2023 – Anxiety has become a new frontier in the human experience, but it’s important to realise that our canine companions can also suffer from this debilitating condition. Just like humans, dogs can experience shortened breath, a tightening chest, pounding hearts, and a hazy world when anxiety takes hold. Imagine your beloved pooch feeling the same way.
Enter Chilli Chihuahua, a vibrant bundle of energy who struts alongside his loyal sidekick, Sukhi (an even tinier Chihuahua), and their devoted content creator, Yasmin El-Saie. However, life isn’t always a walk in the park for Chilli. He is a reactive dog, constantly overwhelmed and stressed by everyday situations. “I was completely unaware that dogs could have mental health issues,” admits Yasmin with a heavy sigh. She continues, “It was Chilli’s anxiety that made me realize I shared his anxiety. He became my mirror, reflecting the extreme state I was in myself. Each time I stepped out of the house, my heart pounded, and I dreaded facing the outside world. I saw the same tension in his little body, bracing himself for the unexpected.”
Over the years, Chilli and Yasmin have forged a remarkable bond, working closely together to support Chilli in every possible way. “I never wanted Chilli to become an unmanageable dog that I had to leave at home. I always wanted him to be an integral part of my life, respecting his needs and boundaries,” explains Yasmin.
Yasmin has developed coping mechanisms for both herself and Chilli. For instance, she always carries a dog bag when leaving home. “The bag serves as Chilli’s safe haven, a sanctuary he can retreat to when things become overwhelming in public spaces. Additionally, his yellow gear alerts people to give him space. He’s uncomfortable with strangers approaching,” reveals Yasmin. Living a yogic lifestyle, Yasmin finds solace in practices such as meditation, sound therapy, and breathwork to soothe her own nervous system. “It’s fascinating to observe how Chilli responds to experiences like meditation, Reiki healing, and sound bathing. He chooses which ones he wants to participate in, and witnessing his relaxation and receptivity is truly incredible.”
Years of learning and training have now inspired Yasmin to share her journey of living with an anxious dog through the “I am anxious too!” campaign on Chilliwawa’s Instagram account and website. Each week, Yasmin and Chilli offer valuable tips and insights on supporting and initiating healing for both dogs and their owners. “I love the opportunity social media provides to raise awareness for this crucial cause. People are often unaware that not all dogs are relaxed and easy to approach. When a dog reacts unexpectedly, it’s common for the person to misunderstand and label the dog as bad or aggressive. It would be wonderful if more people understood canine anxiety and reactivity, to prevent unmanageable situations for these dogs. We simply need to learn how to better understand them!”