A special dog helps a Tulsa woman get back on her feet

Friday, October 31st 2003, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

When Laura Barnes got sick, she wasn't sure if she'd make it, wasn't sure she even wanted to try? But then something changed.

As News on 6 reporter Steve Berg explains, a four-legged friend helped her get back on her own two feet again.

Watching her dash across the ring at the Expo Center, it looks like Laura Barnes doesn't have a care in the world. But five years ago, she felt the weight of the world when she was diagnosed with a brain tumor. “Two weeks before the surgery, a friend of mine came to the door and said I heard you were looking for a dog. And I said 'no' and I wouldn't even get off the sofa to go and look at this little five -week old puppy, couldn't do it."

But like a lot of people who have "tried" resisting a puppy, Laura took the dog in and she's glad she did. "At the time, my tumor was rather small and it was going to be two days in the hospital and two weeks off work, well it didn't work out that way." The tumor was much bigger than doctors thought. A two-hour surgery became an eight-hour surgery.

And two weeks off work became 15 months. Laura couldn't walk, didn't even know her left from her right. But Ooley, so named because she was found by Lake Oologah, was waiting for her. "She was by my side every day, she gave the will to keep getting up and keep trying to walk to the curb."

Now, even though she had no previous experience or training, she and Ooley run in dog agility competitions and qualified for the nationals in California in December. But without Ooley, Laura doesn't know where she'd be.

"I don't think I would be and that's something that's really hard for me to talk about. We saved each other's lives. I rescued her and she rescued me. I was meant to have this dog. This dog was sent to me."