Meet Oscar Wilde
This submission is by Lee Kelly, whose everyday Hero Dog is Oscar Wilde, a Dachshund.
My Dog is My Hero Because…
“That dog is saving your life!”
Luis Angel, MD., said this to me with intensity in his voice back in late 2004 in response to my comment: “I’m now walking an hour a day with my dog Oscar Wilde to get him in top shape for the Dachshund races in Buda in April.”
Dr. Angel is the medical director of the lung transplant program at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio.
I received a single lung transplant there Dec. 2, 2000.
Only about 50 percent of lung transplant recipients are alive five years after their surgeries.
Motivation aside, physical exercise improves lung capacity and overall health and can, for some lung transplant recipients, increase life expectancy.
I recall that conversation with Dr. Angel now — almost eight years later and almost 12 years after my transplant — as I snap Oscar’s leash to his collar. Oscar’s eyes are shining with happiness and his tail is wagging in anticipation. I pat my handsome boy’s head and say with a lilt, “Let’s go!” And we step out into the early morning light for our daily walk.
At home, I also work every day on my upper body strength in large part by tossing toys to Oscar.
The most fun is a doggie burnt orange football. I’m the “quarterback” and Oscar is the “wide receiver.” He usually catches the ball on the fly! Attention University of Texas head football coach Mack Brown: How about a four-legged walk-on!
Our exercise together has played key roles in both of our lives. Oscar absolutely loves to race: Although we only raced once a year, he won five trophies in six years.
Oscar’s best race was when he finished sixth out of 700 dogs at the Buda Wiener Races and Country Fair.
But for me, it’s not just the exercise preparation and the competition that are fun.
Pet-loving friends come with us to the races. There’s camaraderie over the silliness of it all. And there’s lots of cheering and laughter with friends as the wieners race — or walk or just stand there staring — down the track to the finish line!
Two years ago, after a first place finish in Austin, I retired Oscar from racing at age 6 1/2 years.
But my little exercise partner and I are still working out. Besides our walks and toy tosses, we are enjoying Level Four Agility at the Zoom Room in Austin.
My Oscar “zoomed” through the first three levels because he is a “natural athlete,” I am told.
And I love learning from teachers Michele and Laurel as we are trotting around the arena, and I’m motioning my Wilde Man with my hands and voice through the tunnels and weave poles, over the jumps, and up the A-Frame and Dog Walk for almost an hour!
That’s a lot of activity for a person like me with diminished lung capacity and a brand new senior citizen. And for a dog like Oscar Wilde going on 9 years old.
So afterwards we go home and take a nap.
My life-saver, my Hero, my Oscar, sleeps at my side.
Learn more about the Hero Dog Awards.