In 1981, at just 17 years of age, PAWS San Diego Pet Care & Vet Care client Ross was in a serious car crash that changed his life forever. “I was just less than one month away from my 18th birthday, had been drinking beer, and at 4:30 AM got into my dad’s car and fell asleep while driving.” Ross was in a coma for six months, lost 98 pounds, and had severe brain trauma. He also suffered multiple breaks and internal injuries that left him unable to speak for three years, and unable to feed himself for five years. Recalling the experience he says, “I was a trapped prisoner in my own body.”
Now 50 years old (or as he says, “25×2″), Ross is the father of two daughters: his 12 year old and his “furry” daughter, Patches. Patches is a 7 ½ year old white cat with black spots. Ross became a client with PAWS San Diego about 7 years ago, back when Patches was just a black and white ball of fluff. Ross learned about PAWS from an announcement that was on the bulletin board in his apartment complex.
Once an avid sports enthusiast and athlete, Ross still has vivid memories of his participation in motor cross racing, lacrosse, football, and golf, a passion he shared with his father. But this sudden traumatic event ended all of that. He says that the fact he can barely get around with the help of a walker is a monumental achievement. Slowly but surely, he is driving and adding activities to his life.
While he sees his daughter just once a week, Ross’ daily contact with Patches means the world to him. With limited mobility, Ross depends heavily upon the assistance of others throughout the week and Patches is his soothing companion every moment of the day.
If Ross did not have PAWS to help, he says it is doubtful that he would have a pet. Living on SSI and Section 8 housing, Ross says even with his assistance, he must cut corners. Regarding his relationship with PAWS, Ross says, “They are very kind to me and punctually efficient with food and litter. They listen to my needs and desires…PAWS is like my best friend when it comes to my cat. They are not just employees.”
Ross paused in the interview and stared at Patches as she stretched nearby and commented affectionately, “When I watch TV, she puts her little chin on my leg. She talks to me in her cat language, little murmurs and cries. When she talks to me she displays her intelligence. When I pet her, I can see her smile. Plus, she’s got my eyes!”