A Community Gem–SICSA works for animals

In the Dayton area, we are blessed by some truly amazing groups of people doing fantastic work. The Society for the Improvement of Conditions for Stray Animals (SICSA) stands as one of my faves. You already know I’m a dog person. Truthfully, I’m an animal person. I love cats, their dander doesn’t care for me–so I admire them at a distance. I first learned of and loved SICSA in 1993 when I met the dog that would set the bar for all other canines in my life.

Oscar, the WonderMutt, had been named Hershey by the staff. He and his littermates had been named after favorite candies. He was the last to be adopted and had been at the center for nearly seven months when we first met him. My fiance at the time had been looking at dogs as a Christmas present for us. He had been to the center on the weekend when all the fosters bring their charges to the center to see and be seen. He had thought one particular dog fit the bill. Unfortunately, I worked a lot of weekends back then and once I realized what he was up to, I asked if we couldn’t please stop by SICSA and look at dogs. I should have said, look at “dog.” It was a time of the week when the dogs were home with fosters…except Oscar. To make a long story short, some big brown eyes and ear licks later and he was in our car heading home with us. His finding story led us to his name–he and his littermates had been discovered by a woman when she heard puppies crying. Someone had driven by her home, picked up the garbage bags in her curbside garbage container, dumped the puppies in, replaced the trash bags, and fled the scene. A dog found in a trash can needs the name Oscar, don’t you think? By his response when we first said it, he absolutely thought so.

Fast forward a handful of years and Oscar had become our one and only baby–and then, he wasn’t. It was the one and only time he was a drama queen.

He was over it soon enough, though, and became a tolerant big brother to M1 as she followed him around, handfed him, built Lego cities on his back and often confused his toys for her own.

He was with us until 2007 when the tumor on his liver finally took over and pushed him over the cliff. A couple years before that, he’d been given “six months tops.” Fortunately, Oscar was as stubborn as his Mama and had we not known the truth, we never would have imagined he had a thing wrong with him. He even ended up with two new ACLs before it was all over and he learned to love romping around the backyard again. He was an amazing dog. I think about him every day and I thank him for the amazing gift that was his friendship.

We have such a soft spot for SICSA that our oldest daughter, M1, even had a birthday party in which she collected treats, toys and other fun things to donate to SICSA. She was such an excited and proud birthday girl to head to the facility and drop off the trunkload of donated goods we’d collected from her friends. Her friends were equally excited to buy a gift for a lonely dog or cat waiting for their forever homes.

Today, SICSA has two adoption facilities and an active online presence on Facebook and beyond. It’s wonderful to have such a terrific organization in our local community and Dayton can be proud of the group’s efforts on behalf of animals in the Miami Valley and beyond.

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