This weekend I am dog sitting my aunties and uncles dog, Milo.

Growing up I was so scared of dogs. There were several instances where I was bitten. All the barking, yapping or growling I was never a fan of and generally I just felt uneasy whenever around them. To be fair they could probably sense how scared I was.

That has all changed now though. About a year and a half ago my good friend got a puppy and instantly I felt different towards dogs. The first encounter was when the little guy, Winston, joined us at the pub and he sat on my lap before falling asleep on me towards the end of the night. Ever since then dogs have grown on me to the point I would actually want one of my own. But that will have to wait for now. Unfortunately, I can’t afford to look after one right now.

In April of this year whilst living with my Uncle and Auntie, they got a new puppy, Milo. With them working all day I was fortunate enough to spend a lot of time with him and watch him grow on a daily basis.

The last couple of weeks I’ve been walking my friend’s dog, Winston, during the day whilst I am back at my parent’s house more but this weekend my auntie and uncle are away and they asked me to dog-sit.

At first when they asked me I was only slightly anxious. Having spent a lot of time with him any way I was quite looking forward to it. As well as a weekend by myself to relax and get away from everyone.

Fast forward to this Friday and I started to feel a lot more anxious. A lot of worries started arising and I started to doubt if I was actually able to look after a dog as I still often struggle to look after myself. I find it quite hard to look after others and even just be around others as it is something else to worry about when my plate is already full worrying about myself and my problems.

Nether-the-less I was here now and I was going to hold up my end of the agreement in dog-sitting Milo.

I already knew I was going to have to wake up earlier than usual to make sure I was up to let Milo out and take him for a walk. What I didn’t think about was actually going to sleep earlier to make up for the sleep I was going to lose.

The first morning was the toughest. I barely felt like I had slept and by mid-afternoon, I was on my last legs. I actually took a small nap next to Milo while he dozed off as well.

With being so tired my anxiety doesn’t fair well at all and I was ready for an early night and hopefully wake up in a better mental space.

Even though I went to bed much earlier the second night I was awakened abruptly by him wining. But how can you be mad at a dog? Fortunately, I had still more sleep than the night before so I faired a lot better. Spending time with and walking him always makes up for the loss of sleep anyway.

I did almost forget to get his food ready but right before I was about to fall to sleep I remembered. Something like that always gets your attention and wakes you right back up again.

Milo’s now about 5 months old so he’s calmed quite a lot already and walking him plenty tires him out which gives me a lot of time to myself to get the things I need to get done, done.

Besides all the anxiety I have managed so far, although I do have a couple more days left of dog-sitting, it is experiences like these which I need more of to prove to myself I can do these things. And that I am capable of reintegrating myself back into society more.

This is one more step in the right direction.