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Living with anxiety

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Living with anxiety

Killian, Westreich's 14-year-old yellow lab enjoys the first snow of the season.

Killian, Westreich's 14-year-old yellow lab enjoys the first snow of the season.

Killian, Westreich's 14-year-old yellow lab enjoys the first snow of the season.

Killian, Westreich's 14-year-old yellow lab enjoys the first snow of the season.

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Sometimes stress relief can come from the most unexpected places. There truly is nothing like coming home from a stressful day at school and being greeted enthusiastically by two giant and smelly yet adorable yellow labs. My dogs have been there with me through it all, from taying up with me until 2 a.m. studying to spending lazy Sundays with me watching way too many episodes of Friends..

Killian is my 14-year-old yellow lab. He’s been a part of my life for as long as I can remember, and his personality has definitely stayed consistent since he was a puppy. He has always been very strong willed. No amount of training, leashes, even shock collars can keep that dog in the yard. He is so eager to explore the world beyond the restraints of the yard. Now that he’s older, his strolls through the neighborhood have become less frequent but he continues to go on his little “explorations” every once in a blue moon.

Guinness is my 8-year-old lab but if you ever met him you’d think he was eight months old. He is full of excitement for everything, but even more so for his favorite frisbee, his tennis ball  and his food. One time Killian went for one of his little strolls, and Guinness followed his big brother on his mission for exploration. This day in particular Killian decided to lead his little brother on a mission to explore the side of the freeway. Luckily, a very nice police officer saw the two and pulled over to pick them up and take them to the humane society so they could be safely returned to my family. Guinness hopped right in the car, and Killian bolted.

Both dogs have taught me such valuable lessons; it’s important to explore the world around you, but when you make mistakes you need to accept help from others.

Along with the lessons I’ve learned from my two fur-babies, they’ve also offered me so much emotional support. They are my favorite study buddies, best secret keepers, and just the best in general. Not only have I seen the impact my dogs have on my life but there have been many studies showing how others with anxiety can be helped by dogs. In an article written by Kevin Doerr, founder of  Archimedes Labs LLC, Doerr said, “There is a wealth of positive anecdotal information but comparatively few data-driven scientific measures of how dogs affect their human companions’ sense of well-being,”

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Living with anxiety