"I adopted Bailey, but she did all the saving," Luna says.
Luna suffers from severe anxiety and asthma. She describes her attacks as suffocating, like the whole world is pressing on her chest. But fortunately, in these terrifying moments, her rescue dog Bailey knows what to do. Normally fearful herself, Bailey rests her head near Luna's neck and breathes calmly until the attack passes, sometimes for a few minutes and other times a few hours. "Bailey helps me breathe," Luna explains. "She saves me just by being herself."
Who Rescued Whom
This is first post in a new series focusing on extraordinary stories of rescue dogs, cats, bunnies and other animals who comfort and heal the humans in their lives.
Luna adopted Bailey after high school at a time when she was feeling especially lost and powerless against her anxiety and asthma. Medication had not helped and she worried that she might never live independently. She discovered Bailey online and it was love at first click. When Luna visited her at the shelter, Bailey was terrified, but their connection was instant.
Bailey had been abandoned with her litter-mates on the side of the road. She was the most traumatized and the last of her siblings to be adopted. Fearful and reactive from day one, Bailey was afraid of everything from bathtubs to cars to grocery bags to other dogs. Luna understands Bailey's fear and vice versa. "We are very much alike," she says. "We both know what it feels like to be afraid and freak out about ordinary things that everyone else thinks are normal."
Heart Dogs Change Us
Luna and Bailey are each other's safe place. When one faces a trigger, the other is there. During difficult times, Luna naturally withdraws. But Bailey has a way of quietly entering her shell and just being with her in the moment. And when Bailey is frightened, Luna does the same for her, providing space where she feels safe and not alone.
Through patience and positive reinforcement, Bailey's fear and reactivity are decreasing. Even though the world is sometimes a scary place for her, Bailey Boo is a happy pup who loves to chase balls and learn new tricks. Luna's confidence has also grown as she supports and trains Bailey. Together they do lots of physical and mental exercises to work through some of her restlessness. Bailey still loves to hide under the covers, but Luna recently purchased a cozy cave bed which she enjoys almost as much.
"Bailey Boo makes me believe that everything is going to be OK and that I will eventually get better," Luna says.
This special pair lives with her mother, sister and three other dogs, but Luna hopes that they can eventually live on on their own. She looks forward to future adventures with Bailey like moving to the country, going to the beach, and camping trips. No matter what the future holds, I am certain it will be bright as long as Luna and Bailey have each other.
Heart dogs (and cats) enter our lives in wonderful and unexpected ways. We see the world differently, more vividly and clearly because of the special bond we share. These special friends shape our lives and lead us to places and down roads we never imagined we would travel. Sometimes we rescue them, other times they rescue us. But regardless, of who rescued whom ...we are always stronger together.
Thanks to Luna for sharing her story and these adorable pictures. You can read more about their life together on Luna's new blog. Do you have a story to share about an animal you rescued or one that rescued you? Fee free to share in comments or email me here.