Being a dog mom to dogs with social anxiety can be a challenge. It doesn’t matter how many yellow collars I buy our pup or patches saying do not pet, I attach to her harness. Strangers just can’t help shoving their mouths into her beautiful face and trying to kiss her on the snout. I understand her outrage and horror, I really do. Flashback to three years ago, in the middle of the global pandemic and strangers would stand so close to me in the grocery store, I could smell their cigarette breath on my neck. It took all my willpower not to be that Karen on the news who yelled at strangers in the grocery store. The pandemic may be in our rearview but as a person who dislikes being around strangers most days, I just wish people would stay six feet away from me for the rest of my life. I know that dogs with social anxiety totally get me.
I try to explain our Catahoula pup, Luna to people like we are still surviving the pandemic. Luna believes in social distancing. As long as you stay six feet away from her she is just the happiest dog on earth! Perhaps the problem is she is just too damn cute and happy looking. People think she wants that unwanted attention, all those snuggles and kisses. Trust us, for those with anxiety, we don’t want you talking right in our faces or God-forbid, invading our personal space. I mean, seriously, why would you try to kiss a stranger’s dog on the mouth? Dogs with social anxiety are outraged by this, and it just blows me away constantly how some people do not respect a strange dog’s boundary.
Dogs with social anxiety think you are nutty
A few weeks ago, back in the day, when I was not terrified to drive to the big city in case of a terrorist attack, I was shopping at Trader Joe’s and walking back to my car. In the parking lot, there was a lady walking towards me with a beautiful St Bernard on a leash. At the same time, another woman, came skipping by me towards the St Bernard, muttering baby talk, “Oh you are the cutest boy ever, you needs kisses!” As she reached down toward the St Bernard, wrapped her arms around him and began kissing him full on the mouth. I assumed these two women knew each other…
Until the St Bernard owner in the Lululemon leggings said quite hauntingly “Mame, please remove yourself from my dog’s face” If Trader Joe’s wacko woman had tried that with my pup, she probably would have been bit. You see dogs with social anxiety do not want strangers in their personal space. (Yup, just like me)
Dogs with social anxiety and their anxious owners
So why am I anxious you may ask? Well, look at this world we are living in here in the year 2023, with a potential World War III on the horizon. Groceries and gas are becoming almost unaffordable to a lot of people. Homelessness and mental illness are running rampant in the area where I live. I literally had to pull my Taser out of my backpack and threaten to taze a homeless person who threatened me while I was hiking last week. Hiking in the wilderness is my sanctuary that helps me self-care. If I can’t recenter in the wilderness what do I have left but thoughts of anxiety?
People like me are afraid there are Hamas sleeper cells hidden deep in the big cities and are just waiting for them to strike. I’m wondering, honestly if it will be safe for me to drive to the big cities like Los Angeles soon to stock us up on all the big city supplies. Thank God our pantry is stocked right now with three months’ worth of food because driving to the city with just my Tazor to protect me has me feeling a bit on edge. This is the second time in two years I’ve pondered, seriously, should I get a gun for my safety? And yes, this right here is my why dog and I are suffering from social anxiety.
Dogs with social anxiety and their anxious owners
We just survived a global pandemic and now the world is throwing a potential world war at us. Our home sits under the flight path of an airport where every time in the past few years when North Korea is looming on the horizon or what the hell is Hezbollah going to try now, we can hear military jets and helicopters shaking our house multiple times a day as they fly over us. They practice training in our mountain area for the elevation as it’s similar to areas of the Middle East. It’s hard to not feel paranoia and look up gun safety training classes when the proof of the military training to deploy is flying over our house, shaking our house to its foundation all day long.
So how do I combat the anxiety that the world throws at me? Maybe I should stop binge-watching BBC News and spend more time in front of my oven.
But first of all, I try to hike deep in the forest with my pup. I inhale all that is autumn as I take selfies with my dog amongst the falling canary yellow oak leaves. And I bake. Like a lot. I may be getting fatter by the day but when I shove Apple Fritter Cake at my face, I feel much less anxious! Well obviously, dogs with social anxiety don’t belong in the kitchen but purchasing this yellow bandana for my pup seems to help with strangers trying to cuddle her.
After a morning of trekking up the most scenic trails Big Bear Lake has to offer you could find me back in the kitchen whipping up this Cardamom Apple Butter. This just happens to be my dad’s favorite, so I came up with a low-sugar recipe just for him. Okay, I may have ulterior motives. How many vats of Low-Sugar Cardamom Apple Butter can I trade for one of grandpas guns?
My father is one of those strange fellows who survived that entire pandemic without ever getting COVID-19. If there is one thing my dad loves more than Siamese cats and also yelling at people at the Verizon store (Possibly while holding his leashed Siamese cat) it is Apple Butter. Luckily for him, his favorite (Okay only) daughter has about two thousand apples on her Honey Crisp Apple trees right now and is just too anxious to go out in public. So here I am, holed up in my mountain kitchen welding, no not an Annie Oakley pistol, not yet, but a spatula as many apples as I can hold and hanging out with my favorite adventure dog, at home away from all the worries in the world. I love my dog because she gets me. People suck, the world is a crazy place so let’s just stay safe at home and bake.
So what the hell do I do with all that Apple Butter?
- Warm it up and spoon it over vanilla ice cream.
- Baste pork chops.
- Stir some into your oatmeal.
- Dollop it on top of your protein pancakes
3 and a 1/2 pounds of your favorite apples. I used a mix of Jona Gold and Honey Crisp
1/8 cup powdered monk fruit
2 teaspoons Pumpkin Spice Blend
1/2 teaspoon cardamom
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon of salt
How to make Low-Sugar Apple Butter
Cut your apples into bite-sized pieces and layer them in a saucepan. Sprinkle the rest of the ingredients, excluding the vanilla, over your apples. Cook low on simmer for an hour, stirring every five minutes or so. Stir in the vanilla and keep cooking for another half of an hour.
Let your apple butter cool down and then blend until smooth in your nutri-bullet. Allow your Apple Butter to cool completely and then scoop into mason jars to store.