WHY TRAVELING WITH YOUR PUP CAN HELP WITH REDUCE ANXIETY

The last time I traveled with my pup Sawyer was to Madrid. It was our first time traveling anywhere together and his first time being on a plane. I didn’t feel the impact it had on me because I was traveling with family so I felt surrounded by loved ones and having him there was definitely a bonus. So anxiety was out the door!

This past weekend, I had to travel to New York for work and I decided to bring him along with me. He had done so well on a 9-hour flight, I knew he was going to be so good on such a short trip. He did not disappoint. I got lucky to have friends that live in the city, so we stayed with them, which essentially made it easier for him to have a normal experience after all.

We went to Central Park, walked around the city, and even had coffee and dinners at outside seating restaurants. It was incredible. We did our little exploring together like we were right at home. 

Then….

When it was time to head back home, it hit me. On the Uber to the airport, I felt safe, because I had a little piece of home with me. I was comfortable the entire weekend and didn’t feel like an outsider thanks to him. Checking-in at the airport, I didn’t feel stressed or overwhelmed with the number of people there, which normally builds up anxiety until I’m seated on the plane. This time around, I didn’t get uncomfortable. I kept thinking about his well-being that I completely forgot where I was and the anxiety of having to be at the airport surrounded by so many people was flushed out of my system. It wasn’t about me anymore, my entire focus shifted to him. This made it easier for me to feel at ease before traveling.

On the flight, we had a huge hiccup.

Flying so much tends to make me forget how bumpy flying can be. I push this sort of thinking on the back of my mind to keep traveling. On this particular flight, I got extremely lucky that they sat me on an empty row, which NEVER happens. When turbulence made the flight uncomfortable and a bit unsafe, I held him on my lap and kept the focus on him. It was like embracing a security blanket. When we landed, there were thunderstorms in Miami, so the pilot couldn’t land the plane, so instead he emergency lifted off again. I would have been on full panic mode, but I wasn’t. I was a bit nervous sure, but I kept the focus on him the entire time that I didn’t think of what was actually happening to keep my mind at ease. 

Surprisingly he never barked, he wasn’t fuzzy, and he was so chill. After the longest 40-minutes ever, we landed safely into the Miami airport and he remained calm. I think his attitude towards the situation kept me at ease as well. I noticed this reaction with another pup on the same flight. 

If anxiety is something that’s interrupting you from traveling and you’ve got yourself a pup, give it a try to flying with them. It can be a bit of paperwork at first, but after your first round, this process won’t be as long. 

Traveling with my pup has helped my anxiety so much. I had a piece of home with me that kept my mind focused and I was comfortable, relaxed, and most importantly, I felt safe.

I hope a few of you try this if traveling is something you want to do, but are scared of flying. Travel with your best friend and visit a family who lives in another city at first.  Then slowly, progress into solo-traveling with your bestie. They are the best companions. AND Bonus… they’re cute!

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