Offering a paw can help a fellow pup manage their anxiety a bit easier.
Express your concern and offer help. Letting someone know that you are worried about them and you wish to help, is always a very good way of initiating conversation. Show your friend that you care about them, have time for them and make them see that potentially they shouldn’t have to avoid social events with you and others.
Provide Reassurance. It is a very good step to recognise and reassure your fellow PAHs. Let them know that you are there to listen when they need to, because the first time that someone mentions their worries is a huge step coming forward.
Offer A listening ear. This is a skill of much importance. Try asking open questions starting with How/What/Where/When.
Be patient. It is not always the case that you will at once know the full story. PAHs might have certain reasons why they are finding it difficult to come out, socialise and ask for help when they are feeling uneasy. Just offer your paws and be there for that one individual that may want to open up later.
Behave as you usually do together. Don’t be afraid to offer physical contact. A hug, a nuzzle, a scritch or even a gentle belly rub can help a lot, but ask first.
Give PAHs some space when they ask for it even when they are first out in a social situation. Don’t pressurise them, don’t force someone to get help. This will make them feel vulnerable, with less power and lesser ability to speak for themselves.
If they do not want support, just try and offer your ears and listen to their concerns as to why they are feeling uneasy to seek help and eventually why they are uneasy to come out and enjoy some happy social times with the rest of the PAH community.
And most importantly… Look after yourself! Hearing or finding out that another PAH is stressed, anxious and overly worried can bring great distress to yourself too. Take some time to relax and enjoy your self and open up to the ones next to you. If you feel that you are overwhelmed too ask your closest social circle to give you and your new pup friend some help too. Introduce them to each other. You never know how good this might work out.