We saved each other

Castleton student Brigitta Gough poses with her rescue dog, Max. 

As I entered college a few years ago, I became a constantly anxious person who sometimes couldn’t even get out of bed because of the crippling anxiety that overtook me.

I’ve always had some anxiety, but it was never as extreme. My animals at home had always been my relief from the anxiety. But up here, I didn’t have that. I tried my best to control it, but it was always something that lingered inside me.

Then about two months ago, that changed.

At the beginning of the semester, I was driving with my friend and we found a dog running across the road. I immediately jumped out to see this adorable little terrier who was covered in fleas and severely malnourished.

We took him to the Humane Society. I constantly checked their website until he finally went up for adoption weeks later.

I knew I had to adopt him, he was all I had thought about for weeks. He had snapped me out of a panic attack the day we found him and I knew it meant something. I was the most excited I had ever been in my life signing the adoption papers. When he came into the room he leapt into my arms. Any stress I had once again melted away. I couldn’t stop smiling and I knew everything was about to change for me.

In the weeks following his adoption, I noticed how much happier I was. I now had this wonderful dog named Max I couldn’t wait to go home to after classes. I didn’t have any anxiety or if I did, all it took was Max jumping up onto my lap and curling up in a ball to calm me down.

He senses when I am anxious and immediately inserts himself to distract me.

When I walk in the door, he comes scrambling across the room and dances on his two hind feet. As he gets more excited he scratches my leg as he whines, begging for my attention.

I can’t think of anything that makes me happier than Max, he changed my life. He saved me from going into a dark mental state and gives me a sense of purpose.

If getting Max taught me anything, it is that animals have always been a big part of my life for a reason. They have brought me out of dark times and they make me feel secure in who I am, which I think is what we all want in life.

-Brigitta Gough


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