I’m a behaviorist and I work with many of the rescues here in the tri state area my gift is the ability to address severe behavior issues so one day I get a call from a woman who asked me to help her with a dog she rescued herself. She start with an amazing story of a dog she found on the steps of her place of employment in the winter after one of those NY snow storms. There he was lying there emaciated sack of bones with skin growing over what was probably his collar around the neck area. The dog was bleeding profusely from his head in what looked like someone bludgeon with a pipe opening his head his protective skull shattered exposing his now vulnerable underlying tissues. My friend Bobbie reacted and acted without thought or hesitation and with the help of her coworkers picked him up and carried him into a cab straight for the vet. Bobbie was in her late 50’s at the time and knew nothing of dogs and had always rescued cats. She takes in cats no one else wants or those that need medical attention. This was the first dog she rescued because all she saw was a living soul that needed help. The vet bills were astronomical even after the generous discounts given to her by the clinic the surgery alone was over 3,000 dollars all of which came out of her pocket. He lived there at the clinic while he rehabilitated physically as the vets were astounded by his recovery because they actually thought he was not going to make it. But they did not count on Bobbie being there in his corner almost willing him back to life and Oscar’s strong will for life. After he recovered Bobbie had to find him a home because she never had a dog and had seven other cats living with her besides her landlord did not allow dogs in the building. This is when I received the call about a dog that needed help because the home he was in was not conducive to a balanced well behaved dog as Oscar started to develop behavioral issues. The young lady was terrified of him and the guy, who happen to be pretty tall and muscular, was perplexed by Oscar’s behavior because as the gut put it he has had dogs all his life and they always listened to him and didn’t have behavioral issues like Oscars’. Truth be told Oscar bit him on his back and the guy kept saying he never had a dog that bit him. I will never forget my first meeting with Oscar. I was greeted by this big dog with a huge head and I can see the scar from the surgery where his head had been bludgeoned. He appeared to be Bullmastiff/Amstaff mix. Bobbie was told he was a pittie and was told that maybe she should put him to sleep because he could be dangerous especially after the serious blow to his head one could not tell if there was any serious brain damage which could cause him to be aggressive. So this big lug comes over to me and greets me by grabbing my hand with his huge jaws. Make a long story short I started working with him and he responded nicely. I assessed him as a dog with no major aggressive issues and gave them on dog behavior and handling. I left them with specific exercises and handling techniques they were to fallow in order for Oscar to improve. Unfortunately they never followed through with the handling and his issues grew progressively worse. At this point Bobbie decided to take him off their hands as she realized this was not a good home for Oscar and wanting to do what’s best for Oscar took him into her own place. There were two landlords one who was okay with dogs while the other did not allow dogs in the building. So for two years Bobbie paid one landlord an extra 100.00 dollars a month in rent to keep him quiet while she played hide and hide with the other carefully making sure Oscar was not discovered by the landlord. This is how our friendship developed as she asked for my help in training and handling of Oscar as well as sharing my knowledge of caring for and how dogs think and behave. I was proud of her as I saw his behavior improve while observing their relationship grow. For someone who never owned a dog in her life she handled Oscar better than those who have had dogs all their lives. She walked him regularly and even invested in a dog specialized treadmill which Oscar loved and learned to turn on and off by himself. He eventually became quite the social butterfly Bobbie made it a point to socialize him whenever and wherever possible. She would take him to petco where he became a favorite, her son would take him to the bar on occasion something Oscar enjoyed. His visits to the vet clinic that saved his life was a big deal as everyone knew and loved Oscar greeted him like he was a celebrity. One time their was an emergency call in the building there was a big commotion in the halls and stairs with fireman cramming the halls with equipments rushing back and forth. There in the middle of all this commotion and firmen was Oscar holding court and enjoying all the attention he received from the firemen. Bobbie walked Oscar early in the mornings before she went to work and one morning while it was still dark she was approached by some guy who came out of the shadows with the intentions of assaulting her. He didn’t see Oscar just beyond the tree doing his business but Oscar wasted no time in protecting his guardian angel. The guy barely got away only because Bobbie held on to Oscar for dear life. I remember Bobbie hobling for a couple of weeks after that because Oscar had pulled her down and dragged her a few feet before he calmed down. Never the less Bobbie was grateful realizing how much Oscar loved her to the point of risking his life for hers. I can’t tell you how much he meant to Bobbie nor can I tell you how Oscar reciprocated that love with his own unconditional love and undying loyalty. Oscar lived for another eight quality years filled love and joy which otherwise would not had happened if not for his angel guardian The two I always felt were a perfect match overcoming so many obstacles together Oscar lived because of his will to live and Bobbie fought for him to survive. Both fighters, both courageous and in each others lives for a reason. Oscar passed away last year because of the abuse his body endured in his earlier life it just started to break down slowly. I always accompanied Bobbie to Oscars’ vet visits as he was anxious, uneasy and difficult to handle unless I was present and then he was fine. I remember the last time I took the trip and placed him in the kennel ‘not knowing it would be the last time I would see him. He did look at me though and his sweet gentle eyes seem to say good bye it was like he knew. When Oscar passed many mourned his passing this big gentle soul had touched the hearts of so many including his vet and staff. Bobbie was a mess for a long time after that and still talks of him as if he still lives. I was always amazed how Oscar after all he has been through and suffered by cruel and uncaring individuals yet he still found it in his heart to be forgiving and affectionate to so many. We can learn a lesson from the gentle soul. Oscar will always alive in the heart of many. .