The Dog Ate My Anxiety

Annabel Blake
2 min readOct 29, 2018


Meet Otis. Otis eats worries.

I, like everyone else, sometimes have thoughts that are shaky, nervy and gnaw away in my stomach. But confronting these worries can be difficult because they’re invisible. I spend a lot of my tinker time finding ways to bring mental states out into the physical world, believing it’s much easier to deal with thoughts when they’re sitting there in front of you, blubbering away.

Science has shown that scrunching worries up and placing them in the bin reduces rumination (conversely, treating positive thoughts like they are precious increases their power). Now, the bin is one thing, but the slobbery, gut digesting power of a loveable, enthusiastic puppo is another.

THAT, I thought, is how I want MY worries to meet their demise.

Otis is battery powered but who has batteries actually lying around? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

For those of you playing along at home:

Step 1

Purchase mini paper shredder.

Step 2

As a MVP, I chose to cover my paper shredder in white fur fabric from Spotlight. For a while I toyed around with turning this into ‘THE RUMINATOR’, and going for a terminator robot theme. Instead, I decided that the cute eagerness of a puppo would further disarm the ‘seriousness’ of complex worries. Just my personal choice.

Step 3

Find some legs and tilt the shredder on it’s side. I ended up dismantling part of two lightbulb sockets, and gluing them onto the base. Easy.

Step 4

Glue 👏 Glue 👏 Glue 👏 Smother with glue and fabric. *I also cracked open the hood and re-organised some of the electronic innards to get rid of some external buttons ect. For the eyes, I drilled 2 holes through the lid and screwed in two eyes, also from Spotlight. I mounted them low for a dopey look. *awwww*

Step 5

Believe. The power of placebo people, it’s real. When Otis* eats your worries they honestly disappear. It’s not magic. It’s digestion.

*OTIS: Over Thinking Ingestion System



Annabel Blake

Design research @canva Prev; Google Creative Lab and Aus freeski team. Children's author (read my book about space!)