Rescue Goat That Suffers from Anxiety Only Calms Down When Put in Her Duck Costume
Although it’s a perfectly normal reaction to stress and other external stimuli, anxiety can become excessive and all-consuming to the point where it begins to interfere with your daily life. This phenomenon is not reserved for humans alone, since animals also feel anxiety.
Nope, that isn’t a clickbait, neither is it something we came up with ourselves, although it can be hard to imagine someone stating something like that.
Polly is a six-month-old goat who has been through a lot. She is partially blind, suffers from anxiety as well as a host of other neurological issues that affect her eating, and is severely underweight for her age.
She was rescued in New Jersey by a goat rescue group called Goats of Anarchy, run by Leanne Lauricella. The story behind Polly’s fascination with her duck costume began when Lauricella went shopping for Halloween supplies at Marshall’s.
As she was looking through the aisles, her attention was drawn to a bright children’s duck costume, complete with a big orange bill and two webbed feet. Lauricella decided to buy it, thinking the duck costume would look cute for a photo session with her baby goats, especially her newest rescue, Polly. 
However, she had no idea just how much Polly would love that duck costume. Polly’s anxiety issues are quite obvious; she runs around the house, frantically crying her heart out whenever she can’t find Lauricella.
“She’ll find a corner of a wall in the house, and she’ll just start sucking on the wall,” Lauricella said. “So all the corners in our house have these little suck marks from her mouth.”
However, when Lauricella put Polly into the duck costume for a photoshoot, the effect was immediate. “As soon as I put it on her, she just instantly got calm,” Lauricella said.
Lauricella believes the goat is comforted by the cozy quality of the garment, which surrounds and envelops her entire body. In fact, Polly gets so relaxed whenever she’s wearing the costume that she often falls asleep.
“There are times when she can’t find me and panics,” Lauricella said. “I used to soothe her with a blanket until I found the duck costume. I bought it for a cute Halloween costume, and quickly realized the calming effect it has on her.” 
This comes after she had tried using a ThunderShirt and swaddling her in a blanket. However, so far, the duck costume has helped Polly manage her anxiety better than anything. “I tried a ThunderShirt — it didn’t work,” Lauricella said. “There’s something about that duck costume that calms her. She goes into a little trance. She just closes her eyes and she’s out.”
Anxiety in humans
For human beings, anxiety disorders can be defined as mental health disorders that are characterized by feelings of worry, anxiety, or fear that are strong enough to interfere with one’s daily activities. 
Common symptoms of anxiety include:
- Excessive worrying
- Intrusive thoughts
- Heart palpitations
- Constant fear
In recent years, we have experienced a growing anxiety epidemic with survey results showing that Americans have experienced a sharp increase in their anxiety levels, with more than 40 percent of respondents saying they feel more anxious than they did a year ago.
Last year, the national average anxiety score finally tipped over the halfway point on a 100-point scale. It’s now sitting at 51, representing a five-point increase since 2017.
“This poll shows US adults are increasingly anxious, particularly about health, safety, and finances,” says American Psychiatry Association president Anita Everett. “That increased stress and anxiety can significantly impact many aspects of people’s lives, including their mental health, and it can affect families.” 
Common causes of anxiety include:
12 tips for dealing with anxiety 
- Take some time off for yourself to relax, practice yoga, listen to music, meditate, or get a massage.
- Get plenty of sleep, especially if you feel stressed.
- Learn practical relaxation techniques.
- Eat well-balanced meals, and avoid skipping meals.
- Limit your caffeine and alcohol intake since these can aggravate your anxiety.
- Exercise daily to help you feel good and maintain your health.
- Instead of aiming for unattainable perfection, aim to put in your best.
- Accept that there are some things you cannot change or control.
- Try to get more opportunities to laugh; you can do this by watching comedy shows and spending time with optimistic, fun-loving people.
- Try to maintain a positive attitude irrespective of what you’re faced with.
- Get involved in the community and create a support network around yourself.
- Talk to someone about how you feel, whether a friend, family member, or a professional.
- “Rescue goat suffering from anxiety only calms down in her duck outfit.” CBS 12. Victoria Price. November 25, 2016.
- “This goat with anxiety only calms down when she’s in her duck costume.” Today. Rebekah Lowin. November 30, 2016.
- “Anxiety Disorders.” NIH.
- “America Really Is in The Midst of a Rising Anxiety Epidemic.” Science Alert. Peter Dockrill. May 9, 2018.
- “Coping Strategies.” ADAA.