Calgary

'Real-life' Scooby-Doo named to animal hall of fame after helping man having a stroke

When Bryan Oullette had a stroke while home along watching the Stampeders in the CFL West Division final last November, a "real-life" Scooby-Doo named Rosco came to his rescue.

Home alone in Calgary, Bryan Oullette could only pound on the floor with his foot. The rest was up to Rosco

Bryan and Brittany Oullette with Rosco, who was inducted into the Purina Animal Hall of Fame last week. (Jager and Kokemor Photography)

On the day of CFL West Division final last November, Bryan Oullette wasn't feeling so hot.

He opted to stay home in Calgary and watch football while the rest of the family went out hiking in Canmore.

To keep him company, his daughter Brittany left her playful shepherd mix named Rosco.

When asked to describe Rosco in an interview on Daybreak Alberta, Brittany said, "He honestly looks like a big Scooby-Doo in real life. He's got these big ears and brown hair, just like Scooby-Doo, and these great big beautiful eyes."

Later that afternoon, Bryan was lying in bed, watching the Stampeders playing the Blue Bombers, when he had to go to the bathroom.

There was just one small problem.

"I couldn't get out of bed," he said.  "So I rolled.

"I fell on the floor and I realized that my whole left side was all numb and I couldn't feel nothing."

Oullette couldn't lift himself up. He was having a stroke. All he could do was to start banging the floor with his right foot, hoping someone would hear him.

Rosco helped Bryan Oullette, who suffered a stroke watching the CFL West final on television last November. (Brittany Oullette)

Rosco

But apart from Rosco, there was no one else in the house.

"I'm banging the floor with my right foot. And then Rosco comes running in," Bryan said. "As he came around the corner, there I was, lying on the floor, and I grabbed him with my right hand.

"My right hand grabbed his collar and he kind of turned me around so I could grab that bracket on the corner of my big bed and I got myself up that way.

"And my phone was sitting on the bed there, so I phoned 911."

An EMS crew arrived and started ringing the doorbell.

"So Rosco, as soon as heard the doorbell, walked me out of my room, down the hallway to the front door," Bryan said.

They rushed him to hospital.

Rosco, a shepherd mix, with his medal that he received when he was inducted into the Purina Animal Hall of Fame. (Brittany Oullette)

Emergency surgery

At around 5:30 p.m., Brittany's phone started ringing.

"I got three calls from the hospital and I missed all of them because we're swimming," she said. "And then at 6:15, they called me again and it was his surgeon saying that the only thing they could tell me was that my dad had had a stroke and that he was in surgery right now and that I need to get to the hospital as soon as possible."

The family drove in from Canmore in a panic, arriving at the hospital while Brian was still in surgery.

There was an agonizing, four-hour wait until they were allowed to speak to him. 

The left side of Oullette's face was still paralyzed, at that point, and he wasn't able to walk or move his left arm.

Brittany, somewhat baffled, wondered how her father could have found his way to the hospital in such condition.

"We said, 'Well, how did you get help?'" she said. "Because he was home by himself.

"And he said, 'Rosco.'"

"It was just mind-blowing," she said, "to even hear that our dog could do anything like this."

What did the doctor say could have happened had Rosco not come to the rescue?

"They said I could have passed away," Bryan said. "Or I could have had more damage to my whole body. I could've been paralyzed."

Purina Animal Hall of Fame

The incident landed Rosco somewhere else: the Purina Animal Hall of Fame.

Anyone can nominate an animal or pet for the honour via an online entry.

Last week, Brittany, Bryan and Rosco flew to Toronto for the induction ceremony.

For his heroic efforts, Rosco was presented with a medal.

The three-year-old pet was always more inclined to play than play the hero, but Brittany and Bryan say the incident has changed Rosco's personality.

"He's always my baby," Brittany said. "But every time I go and visit now, he has to run to my dad to make sure he's OK before he does anything else."

"He's my good old buddy. He comes to me right away," Bryan said.

It comes with a price, though, Bryan admitted.

"I gotta get him steaks now."


With files from Daybreak Alberta and The Homestretch.

About the Author

Stephen Hunt

Digital Writer

Stephen Hunt is a digital writer at the CBC in Calgary. Email: stephen.hunt@cbc.ca

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