Hero Dog Awards - Cameo

Cameo

Norfolk, Virginia

Independence.

I wanted to be a functioning member of society. Most people would go to extreme lengths to have a sense of their own normalcy, whatever that is for them. Having Narcolepsy Type 1 and some mental health issues due to military service, Cameo provides me that normalcy I seek.

I used to fear doctors appointments, falling asleep in waiting rooms. I wouldn’t want to go anywhere alone for fear of being robbed while asleep, taken advantage of even. My best friend Cameo ensures that I do not fall asleep in public, brings me to somewhere safe I can rest if needed and stays by my side when I experience loss of muscle control due to my cataplexy.
I originally started to train Cameo for my anxiety, and because of that she helps me stay grounded by noticing my anxiety symptoms before I do. In 2020 I learned I was autistic. In 2021 I began to train Cameo to mitigate my life as an autistic person. Her fur has become an amazing resource for me to play with when I’m anxious. She doesn’t bat an eye at the strange touching. She seems almost…proud to be with me.
With all that being said, I want to let you know why I knew Cameo was “The One.”

In 2019, Cameo barker incessantly around 8am one fall day. After attempting to silence her for over 20 minutes, I left my bedroom to bring her outside to go to the bathroom. My house was filled with smoke due to a fire under our house. Our fire alarms did not go off. Without panicking, everyone inside made it out safe. She saved us.