In America, 40 million adults suffer from anxiety and in the UK as many as 1 in 6 young adults suffer. As dog owners, we all like to think we have a special relationship with our dog and because of the dog's virtues, there are times in life we rely on them to help us cope - and they do. They adapt to what we need because they love unconditionally.
This morning we received a story in our inbox from a dog owner in Seattle named Jacqui Garofano about her rescue dog, Pudgy who needs your help.
Jacqui adopted her best friend Pudgy at an animal rescue in Florida. She says, "I reached out for a kindred spirit, and there he was. I read a description of him online, and could not resist taking a ride out to the animal shelter to meet him. It was love at first sight!"
Jacqui tells us Pudgy wasn't intended to be a service dog even though she has suffered from lifelong depression and crippling anxiety disorders, but at around the age of one, his natural abilities surfaced.
She says, "His natural 'people whisperer' abilities started to come out and he evolved into much more than I could have ever expected. From the beginning, I saw something special in him. He immediately made it his mission in life to help me. I remember the first time he came to my
"I remember the first time he came to my rescue and was surprised because up until that point, I had only seen Pudgy's lighter, very playful side. But he has a very serious facet to his personality as well, which enables him to instantly transform into a calm, stable force when I need him. It is almost like he sees the 'bat signal' and instantly transforms into a superhero, leaping across the room to be by my side. He's amazing."
'I knew I could not lose him too'
In 2014, Jacqui lost both her mother and sister to cancer and she developed post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). She says, "Pudgy was the only one I could turn to. I had to rely on him more than ever, and he has never let me down."
Last year Jacqui noticed something was wrong with Pudgy. She says "In May he started to cough and breath heavily while sleeping. I took him to the veterinarian and was devastated when I learned that Pudgy had developed mitral and tricuspid valve heart disease, a progressive and life-threatening condition. I knew I could not lose him too.
"Determined that there must be a cure, I stayed up late for weeks after, scouring the Internet for information, and came upon a surgeon who travels the world performing open-heart surgery on dogs with a surprising 94% success rate. I am determined to get the surgery for my greatest friend. I owe him this after the lifetime of service he has given me. He's devoted his whole life to helping me, and now I have to return that favour."
Even to this day, despite his health problems, Pudgy never misses a beat.
Jacqui says, "He will jump up from a sound sleep to be by my side even when I try not to disturb him. Pudgy comes to my rescue without hesitation every time. That's why I have to save him."
Typically a private person, Jacqui is sharing Pudgy's story to try and help save him.
She says, "I decided to start a fundraising campaign a few months ago, stepping outside of my normally private nature to share our story with the world. It has not been easy. I was devastated after finding out the news about Pudgy. As he could no longer accompany me outside, I spent months alone in my apartment, leaving only to get his medicine or run an occasional errand. Since then, motivated by my love for Pudgy, I have started to break down many of my own psychological barriers, going out into the world to talk about our story and get people involved in our campaign. We've had a lot of success, raising more than $4,000 so far! We are continuing to work toward our goal."