Why am I so keen on helping dogs and people with anxiety to live a happy life together?
I want to tell you a bit of my back story. It comes with a trigger warning for domestic and sexual abuse, panic attacks and PTSD.
I talked to a person I know on Facebook earlier about a really dark time in my life.
I was in my 20s, a lonely single mother, and had had bad experiences with various people throughout my life. I found myself falling in with the wrong crowd and ended up in a domestic violence situation.
It was horrible. I was separated from my family and all but a select few friends, and I was too blind to see it happening until it was too late.
I was abused in the most awful ways, and I turned to addiction after addiction to help me cope.
I found the strength to walk away from the abusive situation after a few years, but it left me with many struggles.
I was afraid of my own shadow and had developed panic attacks.
I felt worthless and had lost all my confidence.
I eventually managed to give up my addictions with the help of my earth angels but felt like the whole world was watching me in disgust regardless.
I was ashamed to be in my own skin; the guilt I felt for what my children had been through was unbearable.
I had no real friends apart from the two I had been allowed to see.
My family barely spoke to me.
My children were struggling.
My dear darling Ruby, a Labrador who was perfect in every way, had witnessed the entire period and all the horror that came with it. She never did like men very much but had become my best friend.
That dog saved me from me so many times.
But I found doing anything for her so very scary.
I could barely speak to people, and when I did, I had become a stuttering mess.
So I hated it when I had to communicate with vets or people in the pet shop.
She was a prolific puller, and I thought people were looking at us while I tried to walk her.
So for a long time, she did not get walked, and her claws grew really long, but I was too nervous about approaching a groomer about it to actually get them trimmed. After all – they were bound to think I didn’t deserve such a lovely dog.
There were so many things I wish I had done differently for that beautiful dog.
My one comfort is that for several years before she passed, I had already begun an ongoing journey of learning to manage my PTSD and my anxiety. When I got Moo, my Tibetan Terrier x Cavalier my life was incredibly different.
He has never known anything except love.
But you see, he struggled with poor health, to the point the poor boy was vomiting and passing blood daily and was so underweight and clinically anorexic that it broke my heart. His behaviour was fearful and aggressive, and I was so afraid people were going to blame me. After all – what was I thinking, getting another dog, when I clearly couldn’t look after myself or the family I already had? (Despite the fact I was doing so, and quite well – I just could not see it.)
There was talk of putting him to sleep.
But I was determined to get something right for once, and I set about learning how to help him.
I was so scared – it is terrifying, thinking about learning new things and meeting new people. But I had to do it.
And that changed my life.
From there, I learned about canine behaviour, developed a passion for it, got qualified and started working with dogs with all kinds of struggles through my Locke’s Dogs – Behaviourist & Trainer business.
But there was still that nagging part in my brain that said I am not good enough. I was getting great results with the dogs, but it didn’t feel like I was doing enough.
And I worked out why.
After leaving Moo with my daughter, who also has anxiety, for a week, I realised that I needed to be helping BOTH ends of the lead. I needed to reach out to anxious dog owners as well as their dogs.
I KNOW that a happy life can be had together.
So Fun Not Fear® was born.
If you need help with your dog’s issues but your anxiety has stopped you in the past, we can help.
Get in touch.