That’s my doggy there, he’s awesome. He’s cute and fluffy and very smart, most of the time. Don’t get me wrong, put yourself between Zeke and a bone and you will be sorry, but more often than not, he’s just as gentle as a butterfly. When he barks though, it could strike fear into the strongest of man and beast, like the excavator pictured here with Zeke! My sweet and very smart dog barks his best bark at construction vehicles and street cleaners. I often giggle when he does this because he sounds like he can take on the world with all that “woof-woof-ing”, not realizing these vehicles could crush him in a blink. However, the other day when he was taking on the excavator, I didn’t giggle. Instead I watched my dog and saw inspiration in all the commotion. Trying to understand what was behind his barking, I realized it’s likely anxiety because the big machine is moving and making very loud noises and is seemingly threatening. Most of us have likely experienced those same construction bangs and booms, the sound can be very unsettling. What inspired me this time, is that in Zeke’s anxiety, he didn’t back down, he didn’t run away, he didn’t cower. Rather, he stood tall and gave plenty of ferocious ruff-ruff’s and would have continued to do so if I hadn’t pulled him away. Therein lies the lesson, anxiety can be truly crippling, but sometimes facing it straight on is where there is power. For those that struggle with anxiety, you know what it looks like: the sweating, the agitation, the palpitations, the actual freezing in place, the inability to speak, the list of symptoms go on. That’s why Totem Tamers came to be, because I was helpless watching my son experience many of these symptoms, and I knew he needed some tools to help him manage those feelings. When my son has an anxiety attack, thankfully few and far between of late, he has figured out the way to use the deep breathing and visualization techniques from Totem Tamers to help keep him calm and measured. Sometimes though, you just need to bark, and bark really loudly!! That’s why I hang on to thick magazines and bubble wrap, for example! When any of my kids are needing to let out some aggression or excessive energy, which is often times instigated by anxiety, I put them in a room and give them the magazines to tear to bits, the bubble wrap to stomp on, or just let them bark at the moon if that’s what they need.
Now when Zeke tries to take on something that is way bigger than he is, I don’t giggle, I pay attention!