Scientists claim that trained dogs are able to detect a chemical change whenever a person is on the verge of having a seizure. However, a clear answer regarding how they do it was not given yet, as opinions are mixed. The dogs are taught to bark in order to signal that a seizure is about to occur, so as to give the parents of a child who suffers from autism, epilepsy or has other disabilities time to provide care or medication.
Such a dog guards over 11-year-old Alyssa Howes, who lost her ability to see seven years ago. Before she had this beautiful golden retriever, her condition was a nightmare for her and her family. She used to have up to 20 seizures every day and her grandmother would spend night after night in her room to watch over her and help her if a seizure occurred during the night.
However, when she got a service dog called Flint, Alyssa and her family have had a much more normal life. This is mainly due to the fact that the dog is constantly on the lookout and always signals when the girl is about to seize. He starts barking, licking her hands and lying on her and then her family becomes alert. Flint also provides companionship for Alyssa and he makes her a happier child than she used to be.
Unfortunately, there are not enough service dogs trained for children who have these disabilities, given the fact that it is customary that people handling service dogs are at least 16 years old, according to Karen Shirk, who is the founder of a nonprofit organization in charge of breeding and training such pets.
She herself has muscular dystrophy and needs her dog, Piper to warn her when to call for medical help before it is too late and she is unable to do so.
“Messages don’t get through from the brain to the muscles,” Karen Shirk says, referring o a seizure episode.
This NGO is one of the few in the country that deals with dogs trained to help children. Nevertheless, these dogs are expensive for the organization to breed and train, as the bill can add up to $22,000, Each family must provide $ 15,000 from various funds. However, the help that a companion like this offers is priceless.
Therefore, it is needless to say that more dogs like these should be available to families who have a child that could use such services.
Image Source: peoplepets