White Dog licked the top of Oso's head and smoothed his furs with her paw. "Do us proud, brother! This is an important opportunity in our battle to end catastrophic diseases." As Steve carried our Little Old Man out to the van, I heard OAWD ask him, "Are you sure I am the right choice? White Dog is so much more polished and eloquent." Steve snuggled him into the back seat, huge with just our little boy in it. "Oso Bear, you are the perfect choice!"
Tonight we had the opportunity to give a presentation to a civic group about comparative studies research and its potential to save the lives of humans and companion animals who suffer from diseases like cancer, epilepsy, diabetes, PTSD, dementia, heart disease and arthritis. It is a speech I love to make because there is always a moment that grows when the listeners see the connection and start to make their own links from personal experiences. It never fails that by the end, the simple sense of there being a health bond between us and the animals who share our environment and lifestyle is apparent. It is a thrill to witness.
Earlier, this morning I had a spontaneous moment to talk about Bridges To Cures with my pulmonologist as we discussed my sleep apnea and and the oxygen generator I use every night. I mentioned that having that piece of equipment got us to doing research and discovering that we could build an oxygen kennel to help prolong our Puff's pulmonary health with O2 therapy at home. He was amazed at first and then as he thought, got rather pleased at his crossover of expertise. I left feeling like we had made a convert; I wished I had one of our brochures to leave behind.
Riding on my success with Dr. Sanchez, the presentation was a dream. The women in attendance were enthusiastic and turned the presentation into a dialog, a conversation. Of course, Oso stole the show just by walking in, but when he stepped forward and offered himself up as my final example of successfully working to eliminate dementia he brought down the house.
He stood, a little wobbly but proud, as we talked about how at 12 his dementia symptoms are nearly identical to those of the mother of one of the group members. They were amazed that Oso suffered Sundowner's Syndrome, that he forgets why he entered a room, that he sometimes gets lost in a familiar space. "Just like mom," the woman whispered. Hands reached out to stroke Oso's side and to coo. The group cheered at the fact that dementia research crosses the bridge to offer insights, medications, therapies, and hope BOTH ways...animal to human...and human to animal. Our boy received hugs of happiness as we talked about the effectiveness Anipryl, the drug he takes which has reduced the manifestation of the disease by a significant amount and which was developed in the human world for the treatment of early-stage Parkinson's disease and dementia.
As we left, I was certain that the message of hope and the idea of building bridges to cures would stay with these women...thanks in no small part to Oso, the Fearless.