Anxious dogs

Three curious dogs looking up

I’m watching my mom’s dogs for the week. They’re both anxious as hell.

One has separation anxiety. The instant I walk out the door he starts barking and crying until someone returns. The neighbors love it.

The other can’t make it halfway around my apartment building without trying to shed her harness off. She gets terrified by the sounds around her: cars, birds, cicadas…and pleads to head back to the house.

Logically, the first dog must know that someone will come back home. They always do. And the second dog must know that nothing is going to attack her while we’re on our walk. Nothing ever does.

But we can’t logic away our emotions.

I firmly believe that we should train ourselves to step away from powerful emotions which aren’t serving us. But that doesn’t eliminate the fact that we feel powerful emotions.

When I see someone get triggered during a socio-political conversation, I think: That’s not useful. But I never judge that person. We experience emotional responses that aren’t useful almost every day.

Extreme pride, shame, panic, disgust…These almost never serve us.

If I could explain to these dogs that they have nothing to worry about and they changed their behavior, their lives would become much easier. But how often does that actually happen?

We all know that person who got back with their shitty significant other after being cheated on twice. That’s clearly illogical. But we’re not logical beings. We make decisions based on our emotions and then justify them with logic.

We’re not awful people for having harmful emotions. But it’s up to us to not let them dictate our actions or decision-making.