Oscar "Ozzie" is my service dog. He was born in July 2015. His full name is Sir Oscar. Everyone who knows Oscar, "Ozzie" and I, were with us through our journey of service from when I first brought him home, through his two years of training, until now. He has really become an assured presence. Everyone has come to know Oscar as a constant in our social circles, my work and day-to-day life.
Everyone has been very respectful and has never asked what he does for me or why I need him. For clarity of the situation, I will disclose to you not all but quite a bit of what Oscar does for me and why.
I am a survivor of multiple concussions and TBIs from IPV as a child, there have been too many to count. In 2012 I was in a car accident in which I received another head injury that tipped the scale for me.
Some of the issues I live with are typical symptoms of childhood Traumatic Brain Injuries, spinal injuries, neck injuries and PTSD. As life went on arthritis developed in the injuries.
Due to these injuries, some of my difficulties are; stumbling over words when speaking, and forgetting your name or who you are. I stumble and lose my balance when I walk sometimes just because of a stone on the ground. Dizziness and vertigo are normal causing it to be difficult at times to bend and pick something up that may have fallen. I lose the understanding of time and need constant reminders from Oscar and the people around me to let me know the time. I have many pings, dings, and Google Home reminders going to remind me of what to do and when. I am excessively aware of small details; this helps me keep things going as planned. Post It Notes, there is no way I could live without them and dry erasers. Now with all that being said, I am considered high functioning despite my symptoms. The big reason I am considered high functioning in a large part is because of Oscar, my hero.
Oscar's medical diagnosis
Oscar was diagnosed with diabetes just over one year ago. He has been doing quite well with it until recently when he developed cataracts.
Last autumn going into the winter when I took Oscar for a walk I noticed that he was not noticing his normal squirrels, other dogs, or the ball when I threw it. He went right past them. as time went on he would occasionally misinterpret where the door was, and where things were when I asked him to bring items to me. He was stumbling at times on the stairs and stopped doing some of his visual responses. He also stopped wanting to sleep on the bed with me and would always end up on the floor at night which was something very new.
We knew something wasn't right. Oscar loves being of service. He is very task motivated and when he has nothing to do, he finds something to do.
We took Oscar to a Canine Ophthalmologist Surgeon this summer. It was a long wait for an appointment. Oscar was diagnosed with cataracts. Our suspicions were confirmed, Oscar can only see shadows and light.
This drastically affects his ability to work especially publicly. Due to not being able to see, he is more aware of trying to respond to what is going on around him than paying attention to me when he is working.
Due to not being able to work Oscar's demeanour has also gone down and has appeared to be somewhat depressed. He went everywhere with me. He slept with me but at this point, he prefers the floor. He eats with me and takes care of me in too many ways to mention. Even though he has his time off every day, he chooses to still be on call just in case he is needed (his decision).
When I go out the door, he can't understand why he is being left at home and his vest isn't being put on. So, he sits at the door, he watches and waits...
When Oscar was working I would go to the stores, go out more with friends, and go out in the car more. Most of this has come to a stop without Oscar. I have once again been experiencing flashback nightmares that Oscar has been trained to wake me from. But because his eyesight is affected once again he is distracted.
Oscar qualifies to have cataract surgery which should return his eyesight and be able to work publically once again. The outcome of canine cataract surgery is very good. Unfortunately due to his prior existing diabetes, his medical insurance will not cover the eye surgery.
The cost of the surgery comes to just under $10, 000 CDN.
We, Oscar and I, need as much help as we can get. His inability to see has affected his overall well-being and can't understand what his purpose is.