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A Safe Place

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safe place

It struck me yesterday – or, if I’m being honest, it struck Mum – how important my ‘safe place’ has become on our walks. Back in the autumn of last year, when I wasn’t walking at all – at the beach, yes; with the Parents, yes; with my Uncle, yes; just never anywhere in town with Mum – Mum and I came up with a safe place that she would carry me to, and when she placed me down, I’d walk from there. This seemed a bit of a random idea, but it worked. Mum had realised that there was one spot where I always seemed to relax, albeit it just a little. With a fence on one side (enclosing private gardens) and with cars always parked on the other, this stretch of footpath always felt like a calm spot after all the noise and traffic that we had to navigate in order to get here.

At first, Mum carried me to this spot, and I always walked from here. Then, on a few occasions, we even ran here – I should point out, this spot isn’t that near to where we live – as, once running, I’d forget about the nerves. And then, earlier this year, I started walking. My confidence grew.

You might imagine that the story ends there and that from this point onwards things have been fine. Easy, even. But they haven’t. I still get anxious. I have anxious days. Anxious weeks. Some days, it is hard to get from where we live to here. I stop-start, stop-start. (Okay, part of this is about being a hound and stopping to sniff every – and I mean every – scent. But part of it is also about me digging my paws in and refusing to move, in fear.) Sometimes Mum has to pick me up as picking me up is better than letting me get so freaked out that I shut down. So she carries me for a bit, reassuring me all the time, and then we try again.

And every time we reach this place, things get better. Finding this safe place has been invaluable. And now, more often than not, I pause here and take a moment. Because learning to deal with anxiety, in whatever form it takes, is about small steps. And it’s about keeping on trying, knowing that one day it will indeed get better.

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2 Comments Join the Conversation

  1. Harris❤️….everyone has a safe place on this earth! Humans too…ask every human you know…! I think its great Mom and Dad work with you in a very loving way…thats the only way Harris, with love and understanding! So don’t be sad…you are a great puppadoodle …and your willing to learn! So take little steps my little man…❤️❤️ Auntie and Uncle Jac know you will get there!! Xx

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    • So true re humans – Mum says the same. Her safe place is her yoga studio – as soon as she walks into it she feels calmer. So we all need one. And one day, Mum says, when she can drive, things will be very different. Rather than having to walk in the centre of town, we’ll be able to pop in the car and go some place quieter. We’ll be able to drive out to the sea. So yeah, Mum needs to get her act together basically. Whuffs from me to Uncle Jac too, X X

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