When Love Equals Fear: The Truth About My Paralyzing Fear of Losing My Dog


This is probably one of the hardest blog posts I have ever written, but there is a part of me that hopes putting this out there is going to feel somewhat therapeutic. Ever since I first got Bailey I’ve had this paranoid, debilitating fear that something bad is going to happen to her. At first I thought it was a normal and temporary thing … I was in a dark place when she came to me, she changed my life instantly and I thought that maybe I’m just afraid because I’m not sure if this love is here to stay. I really hoped that, as the time passes, I will become less afraid - I’ll get used to having her around, right? Well … Bailey is going to be with me 6 years this summer and the fear is still here. I have been pushing it away constantly, never daring to even speak about it, until I recently heard someone talk about this same paranoid fear in their podcast and it hit me right in the heart. I couldn’t really push it away anymore because I finally started to understand how much it has been affecting me for the past six years.


I have a lot of souls in my life that I love dearly, both human and canine. Obviously the thought of losing any of them is too much to bear, but it’s just one of those things I don’t really think about - probably like most people. I mean, we would all go insane if we constantly contemplated losing our most loved ones. But this is exactly what is happening to me with Bailey. I don’t know if there has been a week in our whole time together where I didn’t excessively worry about her dying. This thought is always in the back of my head. Sometimes I would overthink myself into crying because the anxiety is so heavy. I would hold her in my arms and think "Please don't die." The fear is overwhelming and it always has been. I’m not religious, but of course this goes out the door when we need a favor from the universe - so I would often just pray pray pray to the sky to keep her safe.


I don’t like leaving her anywhere without me because I’ve always feared she might die when I’m away and I won’t be able to be with her in her last moments. How messed up is that? I get that this is not a normal fear of loss. I just don’t always know where it comes from - or why it has centered around Bailey.


Maybe it’s the co-dependency. I love Chilly just as much, but somehow I can understand him as a completely separate entity from me. I can’t do that with Bailey. I swear she is somehow a part of me in a way I cannot explain. Looking at her is like looking into a mirror. We reflect each other all the time. When she is sick, my whole body physically hurts. I can’t even make this up! When she can’t sleep at night, I instinctively wake up too. Sometimes we’re out on a walk and I can feel her tense next to me without even looking at her and I know that she can sense/hear/smell a trigger that’s not yet in our visual field. We’ve always had incredibly strong non-verbal communication. Chilly needs a lot of verbal direction and instructions, he loves to follow cues and interact through the voice. But Bailey is pure intuition and most of the time we communicate without words. She has always been very co-dependent with me and while we’ve worked through a lot of that, at the end of the day I know there is nobody in the world she would feel more comfortable with than she does with me. We just “get” each other.


So maybe this fear is so big because I think losing her would be losing me?


I think if I lost her, I would lose this giant part of my soul. Like I couldn’t function without her because before she was in my life, I wasn’t actually functioning. I know this has nothing to do with her and I know that her mission in this lifetime was never to “fix” me; it was to wake me up. Her mission now is to keep me awake, keep me on my toes, keep me learning, keep me striving for more knowledge so that I can help more people. This blog, and all the knowledge I have, are a result of her being in my world. Adopting Bailey has changed the entire course of my life. Looking at how much I’ve built on this journey, how much has came into fruition since I’ve had her, because I have her … it’s almost as if I don’t know what life would look like without her in it.


If I was normal, I would say to myself that this is something I really don’t have to think about for the next 10 more years and I would relax into the fact that I have the most wonderful companion in the universe here with me. I would be thankful for this deep love - and I am, every day! But the love comes with fear and this fear … this fear is too much.


"In order to have peace, we must first have trust."

- Insurgent 

In all these years, I have dreamt that she had passed away two times (and that’s still two times too many). Both of those dreams were incredibly intense. They weren’t normal dreams … you know, where the pictures feel a little hazy and you feel a bit detached and time passes differently, more quickly and in sequences? These dreams were not like that. They were REAL. As in, time was normal and it went on forever and I physically felt everything in my body. Think about your normal dreams … you don’t usually feel the physical sensations, it’s very rare. But in these dreams I physically felt everything. I was holding her and shaking her, I tried to scream and nothing came out, my legs were shaking … needless to say, I woke up completely traumatized. The first time I panically shook Bailey awake to see if she’s okay and the second time I was so exhausted from the dream I couldn’t even properly move, I was just lying there, thanking the universe for waking me up.


So, I’ve been thinking about this lately - more consciously now than before. I’ve been trying to analyze it, to pick this fear apart and pinpoint where it started or why it’s so intense. I’ve been surrounded by dogs my whole life, a lot of them have passed away, most of them have passed away suddenly … but I managed to process all of their deaths before I even got Bailey and even last year, when we lost Lady, this fear stayed the same. Not that it could get any more intense than it already is, but I know that Lady’s passing didn’t contribute to my paranoia. If anything, I was so consumed with Chilly at the time (because he took it a little hard at the beginning) that I barely had enough time for Bailey. So clearly, this fear couldn’t have been triggered by the loss of other dogs.


The more soul searching and digging I do about this issue, the more I realize it’s deeper than just this moment, these six years, this one soul.


I’ve spoken about my childhood a little bit up here before, even though it’s always hard for me to write about this because first, I’m very private and second, I’m trying to keep the attention on rescue dogs. But the fact of the matter is that if you are a human raising a dog, somebody else was raising you too. And that IS significant and it DOES play a role, whether you realize it or not.


I was raised in a house that was always full of fear and anxiety. The women in my life could never relax into love or even motherhood - there was always fear, fear, fear. I remember being a child, living a completely chaotic life but every now and then things got a liiiiitle bit better. I would relax, thinking that things are going to be okay now. Then, something major and bad happened again - and it was back to chaos. Rinse and repeat! I think I got the impression that good things don’t last. I got the impression that love equals intense fear. Maybe this is why I can’t relax into loving Bailey. Because it’s so intense and joyful and she was the first dog I ever adopted. I sort of expected something to go wrong.


I had never been taught how to love someone without reading them chapters from the book of anxiety.


I have to shoutout Chilly at this point, because he is the dog that taught me to relax. Loving him makes my heart lighter. Maybe that’s why this yearning to release this fear has come up now, after all this time. I still carry this fear with me every day but I am learning to shift my thought patterns and relax into this love.


It’s okay. All is well. Bailey is anchored in my heart - now and always. She is safe safe safe. I wake up every morning to her snout nuzzled into my neck. I don’t want to pollute those moments with anxiety anymore. I want to cherish them, live in the moment and give thanks to the universe every single day for bringing her to me. She is, and always will be, my life’s best part.❤️