Who-Saved-Who Winner: Nowda the Rescue Mix

Has your pup ever climbed into your lap when you were feeling down, giving you that little bit of affection to put your mind back at ease? How is it that our fur babies know exactly when we need a little bit of cheering up? For this weeks Who-Saved-Who Winner, Nowda, he helped his mom Arien through even tougher circumstances, providing relief from her newfound anxiety and panic attacks. 

Arien returned the favor of course, helping Nowda learn to trust humans again after suffering from a chemical burned from his previous "owners"--(obviously not real parents). 

We were so moved by this story of mutual love and respect, and hope that you enjoy Arien and Nowda's story too:

I guess our story starts in the fall 2016. I had just moved across the country from Florida to California to start graduate school in a marine biology program. I didn't know anyone, and being that it was graduate school, most people I met were either busy with school work, or already had friends from their undergraduate degree programs. Suffice it to say, it was pretty lonely! I'd always been a really family oriented person, and suddenly I was a 5 hour flight from home in a new city. Spring semester rolled around and I started my research field seasons. With all of the stress and lack of strong connections, I started to suffer bad anxiety which frequently made me want to give up on school and move home. I didn't want that to be an option so I began to research other ways to deal with the anxiety. I started yoga and meditation, which helped some.
Finally, between two of my research trips I started to seriously contemplate adopting a dog. I had never had one before (I grew up with cats), but I was pretty sure that a dog's companionship is exactly the kind of bond I needed. During April and May while I was out of the country doing research, I spent all of my free time on shelter websites, PetFinder, rescues... you name it! I even read a book on raising a puppy. From all of my research I had decided that a lab mix might suit my lifestyle, and I wanted a young dog that I could spend a lot of time training. 
Eventually I came across the California Labrador Retrievers & More webpage. As I was scrolling through their adoptable dogs page, I saw the photo for a dog named "Simon". He was a lab-border collie mix at 4 months old, black and white, and just adorable! He was perfect! His profile sounded like everything I was looking for. As soon as I got back to the United States I called the rescue agency for my adoption interview. They said he was recovering from a back injury, which I found out was a chemical burn, done to him by a human prior to rescue. He would need patience and lots of love. I thought I could handle that, so I drove 2.5 hours to San Diego that weekend... and I drove back to Los Angeles a few hours later with a smiley little pup. He was then renamed to Nowda Watson - Watson (middle name) because of how Watson is Sherlock Holmes' sweet companion, and Nowda because it was so unique and matched his innocence. I didn't know it yet, but he would quickly become the love of my life.
Immediately I was amazed by his calm demeanor and intelligence. He followed me from room to room, and wouldn't let me out of his sight. I've frequently said that I was so lucky in choosing that puppy. We've spent hours training together and have such an amazing bond. He's everything I wanted and more, and he's a big cuddler which is a huge plus! Since adopting him, I haven't had any anxiety attacks (and prior to adopting him, I was having them daily). I don't know how dogs do it, but they are incredible. He's needed help too, and is definitely a rescue dog. He was fearful of strangers and surprises from his traumatic burn injury, but he's improved sooo much since I've had him. In the early days, he would get scared of the sound of a door opening. Now he doesn't even notice, or he'll excitedly greet me at the door. I'm so impressed by him. I can't wait to see how he continues to progress in the months and years to come. 
Nowda donning the Nautical neckerchief!

Nowda donning the Nautical neckerchief!

Nowda looks so cute in the Venice, doesn't he?!

Nowda looks so cute in the Venice, doesn't he?!

I'm not sure who saved who, but I think our story is definitely a mutual one. We joke that he's my emotional support animal, and I'm his emotional support human :)