My name is Scott U., I am 49 years old and I am a retired Police Officer. I worked for approximately 23 years as a Traffic Homicide Investigator. I lost my hearing during a rescue dive in which a woman drove her vehicle off of a bridge into the ocean. The woman was successfully rescued as were her two children. However, I went too deep in the water without the proper dive equipment and my ear drums were ruptured. I eventually lost all of my hearing in my right ear and I have some difficulty with my equilibrium. I fall and I cannot recover myself so I walk with a cane, but the cane does little good. I still have many problems with walking; many of which are the result of gunshot wounds I received during a high-speed chase incident in which I was involved.
I have great trouble in walking any distance as my feet are now deformed and, of course, with the deformity has come arthritis in my knees and in my ankles. I am a very large person and throughout my career as a Police Officer, I have always been willing to assist the people that were in some sort of trouble. Now I want to help but I am not able to.
I am also a diabetic and have high blood pressure. As a result of my deafness I now wear a Cochlear Implant on my right side. The Cochlear does help me to hear but my hearing still does not allow me to hear someone at the front door or the telephone ringing. I miss most of my cell phone calls because I do not hear the cell phone.
Since I lost my wife, five years ago, I have secluded myself from almost all people. In August 2008, I enrolled in West Virginia Northern Community College’s Sign Language Program, and I am now beginning to get more involved in my community, my church, and my life. For a long time I felt like I had done all the things that I was supposed to do in life. Now, I am learning new things about myself every day. I have learned that being deaf does not have to seclude me from being a productive member of life.
At this time, I am working on an Associate Degree in Sign Language Interpretation, and I currently sign for my Church, and some deaf friends. Through paws4peopleTM I am hoping to rebuild what is left of my life. I am looking forward to becoming the best Client/Trainer that I can possibly be. I am hoping to combine my sign language ability and my love of animals into a new adventure-filled life. I have never been the type of person to sit behind a desk; I prefer to be “In the Field.” I want to have a positive effect on people who are deaf or handicapped as well as those with various learning disabilities.
Life is great! I feel like it’s time to get started again enjoying the many things that make it special, at this point the most special thing in my life is my new companion, RAIDER, he and I have a “Glue Contract;” we work, train, and grow closer as a team every day. RAIDER is an exceptional animal, he wants to learn; albeit, sometimes in his own way, but he is smart and capable.
Scott received RAIDER on September 1, 2009. Scott is actively involved in providing RAIDER’s final customized training under the tutelage of Ms. Heidi Livengood, Chief Trainer, paws4peopleTM Foundation West Virginia, and paws4prisonsTM USP Hazelton and FCI Morgantown.