Meet Oscar (Part 1)
Written By Dusty (SR. PET REPORTER)
My name is Oscar (not my real name) as I want to respect my human's privacy. I am a Service Dog who will be retiring soon, and I am responsible for an amazing Army Veteran who suffers from PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). My job is to make sure he stays calm. When I sense he is becoming anxious or upset, I will start licking his hand or face or will sometimes take my paws and start nudging him. These actions will force him to focus on me and start to calm himself. I am very good at my job. I have been doing it for a while.
My human has had some tough episodes, but I have been with him every step of the way. As we say in the Military, we have each other's "six". Recently it became clear that my human needed to take on some additional treatment and will be going away for 3 months. The program will be great for him, but I won't be able to go. He had to find a place that would care for me while he is away. He was very nervous because he knew he wouldn't be able to focus on his treatment if he was worried about me.
That's where Stars and Stripes Dog Rescue came in. My human got a referral, and he reached out and setup a time to meet with them. My human doesn't have a car, so Stars and Stripes Dog Rescue sent a representative to pick us up. I think we were both a bit anxious when we got into the car for the ride to meet the potential foster family. My human wasn't very talkative during the 30- minute drive. He listened as the representative talked through the process and a little about the rescue.
We pulled up to a nice house in a very nice neighborhood. I got myself psyched up to be the best "Oscar" I could be. I didn't want to screw up the interview. We knocked on this really cool looking door and this incredibly nice couple appeared in the doorway. They invited us in, and I of course went in to check out the house. Two-story (I love two-story setups) house with a ton of space. I checked out every room and found my way into the kitchen. Nice tile floor. I laid down; this is my home away from home. I just needed to convince my human.
I could see my human was a bit nervous; he wasn't saying a lot so luckily the talkative Rescue stepped in and was making sure all questions were being asked and answered. I found out that this Rescue didn't really offer this option for Veterans before my human called them. But the way I saw it, it was the perfect solution for Service Members who had dogs that needed help but didn't have places to go for that help. I digress....
The nice future foster mom took me out back. I was in heaven. This was the most amazing place. I was so hoping my human didn't mess things up, especially after how hard I was working to make them like me. I am pretty charming, so it really wasn't that hard.
We stayed for a bit longer and we said our thanks and headed out the door. When my human and I got into the car I saw he was actually super relaxed. The stress that was on his face on the ride over was nowhere to be seen. He seemed the calmest I had seen him in a while. The Rescue lady took us to a place called Starbucks. Never been before. When they came out the lady had my human feed me something called a "puppuccino". I cautiously ate this foamy white stuff. Pretty neat stuff. I gotta have me some more of those things.
We headed back to the campus. The Rescue lady told my human that he didn't have to make a decision about the couple right away that she could keep looking. In my head I am saying, "What's to think about, Say YES already." Thankfully, he said he was very comfortable with the couple, and he knew they would take excellent care of me. I was surprised how much talking my human was doing. It was as if the weight of the world had been lifted, the ride home seemed to take less than 10 minutes. It was a very good day.
The Rescue lady said she would arrange a day for me to go to the dog doctor for a checkup. I wasn't sure what that was exactly, but knowing we were going to get out of the campus life again I was all in. I met a very nice veterinarian who checked out every part of my body. I got a clean bill of health and some stuff to prevent heart worms. EWWWWW who knew you could get worms in your heart. They even clipped my nails, I looked GOOD!
And guess where we went on the way home? That's right. puppuccino time! Another great day!! A few weeks back the Rescue lady came for another visit and took me and my human to lunch at a park.
I am an incredibly lucky dog, and I would do anything to keep my human safe. Knowing he is going in to get the treatment he needs is truly a blessing. I will miss him while he's gone, but now he won't have to worry about me.
I thank my lucky paws that we met the team at Stars and Stripes Dog Rescue. They are doing amazing work!!! If you can help them in either volunteering, fostering, donating or sponsoring, they can help more veterans like my human and more deserving dogs.
Watch for Part 2 for updates on how I am doing at my foster home.