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Pawsitive Therapy: How Dogs Helped Rachael Overcome Social Anxiety

Updated: Oct 20, 2023

Join me in this enlightening conversation with Rachael, the proud owner of Olivia and Lincoln and the founder of All Tails Wag. Our discussion touches upon various compelling topics, ranging from the joys of dog ownership to experiences with social anxiety and mental health challenges.

Embracing the Title: The 'Antisocial Dog Mom'

Rachael intriguingly dubs herself the "antisocial dog mom." She opens up about how social anxiety can sometimes hinder her interactions with people, but the conversation flows effortlessly when it comes to dogs. Rachael finds solace in the fact that discussions about dogs not only ease her social anxiety but also provide a common ground for engaging with others. "If we talk about dogs," she shares, "I have endless things to talk about. It loosens me up and allows me to engage in other conversations."

The Unifying Power of Canine Companionship

Rachael's recent move to Georgia has led her to a community of dog lovers who share her profound passion for canine companionship. She emphasizes the stark contrast in attitudes towards dogs in Georgia compared to her previous home in Florida. "The people here all love dogs," Rachael observes. "I've had so many people in and out of my house, and they all love the dogs. It's not like that in Florida." This newfound sense of community and acceptance has made Rachael feel more at home and allowed her to connect with like-minded individuals.

Dogs as Pillars of Mental Health Support

Rachael's battle with mental health issues finds a sturdy support system in her dogs. She candidly admits, "There are days I feel anxious or depressed, and I don't want to get out of bed, but my dog doesn't let me. He wants to play ball, and every time I go out, I laugh and have such a good time." Rachael emphasizes the therapeutic benefits of spending time with her dogs in combating anxiety and depression. She believes dogs can provide a sense of purpose and motivation for those grappling with mental health challenges.

Overcoming Adversity and Finding a Community

Rachael delves into her journey of overcoming substance abuse and addiction. She shares a powerful milestone: "I got clean on 10/10/2012." Her experiences have molded her mental health perspective and the need for a solid support system. Rachael underscores the significance of open dialogues concerning mental health issues and the importance of seeking help. She remarks, "Thankfully, I've been fortunate enough to find a community in Narcotics Anonymous. So many people struggle with so many things, and there's no reason to be mean about it."

Addressing the Mental Health Stigma

Rachael acknowledges the persisting stigma surrounding mental health but stands resilient against it. She advocates for being open and unapologetically honest about her struggles, creating a safe space for others to share their stories. "If somebody wants to judge me for being the person I was almost eleven years ago," she asserts, "then they can go... themselves." Rachael's enduring message is one of compassion, understanding, and a call for everyone to recognize and empathize with each person's unique battles.

The Healing Touch of Dogs

Throughout our conversation, it becomes evident that dogs have played a significant role in Rachael's life. They've provided companionship support and helped her navigate social anxiety and mental health challenges. Rachael's story exemplifies the transformative power of the human-animal bond, and the positive impact dogs can have on our lives.

Our discussion with Rachael is a testament to the multifaceted nature of dog ownership. From the sheer joys of canine companionship to the battles with mental health, Rachael's journey echoes the healing power of dogs. It underscores the importance of open conversations about mental well-being. As we journey through the wonderful world of dog ownership, let's cherish our dogs' profound impact on our lives and those around us.

Want to learn more about Rachael and her dogs, Olivia and Lincoln


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