“Raising Awareness: Chilli Chihuahua Sheds Light on Canine Mental Health Challenges”
Anxiety has become a prevalent issue among humans, but did you know that dogs can also experience anxiety? Anyone who has felt the grip of anxiety understands the sensation of shallow breaths, a tightening chest, a racing heart, and a clouded mind. Now, imagine your beloved pooch going through the same emotions.
Allow us to introduce you to Chilli Chihuahua. This lively pup struts around with his 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 what is known as a reactive dog—a furry friend who finds everyday situations overwhelming and stressful due to anxiety. “I had no idea that dogs could experience mental health issues,” Yasmin confesses with a sigh. She continues, “It took Chilli’s anxiety for me to realize that I was just as anxious as he was! 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 pounding, dreading the outside world. And I witnessed the tension in his little body, bracing himself for the unknown.”
Over the years, Chilli and Yasmin have forged a special bond, working closely together to provide support in any way they can. “I never wanted Chilli to become a dog that I had to leave behind because he was unmanageable. I always wanted him to be part of my life as much as possible, while respecting his needs and boundaries,” Yasmin shares.
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 haven, designed like a cozy cave with a door, allowing him to retreat whenever the outside world becomes overwhelming in public places. Additionally, his yellow gear acts as a signal to notify people that he requires space. He’s not comfortable with strangers approaching him.” Yasmin embraces a yogic lifestyle, finding solace in practices such as meditation, sound therapy, and breathwork to regulate her own nervous system. “It’s fascinating to observe Chilli’s reactions to experiences like meditation, Reiki healing, and sound baths. He chooses to participate in the ones he resonates with, and it’s truly remarkable to witness his relaxation and receptivity.”
Years of learning and training have 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 provide tips and insights on how to support and initiate healing for both your furry companion and yourself. “I love that I can leverage social media to raise awareness for this crucial cause. People aren’t always informed that not all dogs are relaxed and easy to approach. When a dog reacts unexpectedly, I often sense a lack of understanding, and the dog is unfairly labeled as bad or aggressive. It would be wonderful if more people were aware of dog anxiety and reactivity, helping to prevent unmanageable situations for our four-legged friends. We simply need to learn how to better understand them!”
Join the campaign and follow Chilli Chihuahua’s journey as he shines a light on canine anxiety and advocates for a greater understanding of our furry companions.