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Wednesday, May 6, 2009

How'd She Learn THAT?

My dog is amazing. I know, I know, every mom thinks that about their kid, but in this case, it's absolutely the truth.
The Sunny Dog is a one of a kind and is undoubtedly the smartest, most sensitive and intuitive creature to ever walk the earth.
Case in point:
She has learned to accurately and consistently predict and alert us to my seizures, often several minutes before I ever experience any sort of aura. She will get in my face and bark, loud and stare me in the eyes with a firmness that is in stark contrast to her normal, laid back, laissez-faire attitude toward... everything (except her Sunny Dog Snacks, that is). We first noticed it over a year or two ago, but it was hit and miss. She may alert, she may not. Or perhaps we simply didn't notice the alerts. Many times we thought she was acting weird because she REALLY had to go potty, or maybe there was some hidden kitty cat in the bushes outside or possibly a squirle or bird... And then we smartened up to her level and realized that within minutes, sometimes seconds of her running in circles, barking, laying across my feet, pawing at me, and staring at my face in a dance that only Sunny Dog could choreograph, I would have some sort of seizure or another. It's not that she only alerts to the grand mals. She also alerts to the absence and the partial seizures, too. The ones Wifester calls "the picking seizures" where I look like one of those old ladies at the nursing home moving my mouth like I want to talk and picking at my clothes or blanket as though I'm plucking lint or some other invisible errant object away.
I know that they have service dogs for people with seizures, and I've read about dogs that can alert to seizures, but I always thought that the dogs were trained to do this. Not my Sunny Dog. She has taught herself to do it. After realizing that Sunny has appointed herself as my own personal service dog, I started doing some research on it, and as it turns out, most seizure alert dogs are dogs just like her who start out as pets who show an innate ability to alert. They are then subsequently trained to assist during and after the seizure. Other assistance dogs are unable to alert to an impending seizure, but are trained to help during and after one occurs.
I want to know who I need to contact to get Sunny one of those cool Assistance Dog vests so she can go on the plane with me and not ride in cargo. Does it work that way?
In all seriousness, though, Sunny was Wifester's dog when I met the Wifester. She'd had the Sunny Dog for several years already. They were bonded. They were tight. They were a pack. In our three plus years together, the Sunny Dog has taught herself this amazing talent, and from what I've read, the closer the dog is to the person, the more apt they are to be able to predict seizures. I think she's officially accepted me as one of her pack. I'm awfully gald.
Now do you see why I go out of my way to cook her food and bake her treats myself?
She's such a good girl, she deserves it!

12 cookies cracked:

Wifester said...

That's my Sunny Dog!

Jay said...

That's pretty amazing. I'm guessing that dogs can do this because they sync so much with humans. They can be very perceptive of human emotions.

Dogs rule.

Butch Boo said...

A Super doggy indeed- you're both very lucky to have each other.

Can't wait- me and girlfreind get to collect our new puppy in 3 weeks and two days!



Lauren said...

She sounds like a great dog! That's so great that she has learned how to alert you of your seizures. There are many service dogs trained at this, actually a friend of mine who also has seizures is thinking about getting one. I bet you could get your dog registered as a service animal and take her places with you! That would be awesome. No idea who to contact though...maybe the group that gives out service animals would be able to point you in the right direction?

Rebekah said...

Gawd, that's AWESOME! An amazing dog. You are lucky! (and so is she)

Reb said...

That is wonderful that she can do that. Contact the local service dog people, she may need some training to help you during the seizures, but I am sure they would be able to direct you to the right place.

Anna said...

She is amazing!

Gary Rith Pottery Blog said...


Gramps said...

I never knew that about dogs. Learn something new every day.

Real Live Lesbian said...

She's SuperSunny!!!!

I'm so glad she's part of your family! What a great girl!

fiwa said...

What a great dog! I love dogs, but that is one of the neatest stories I have ever heard. You & wifester are lucky to have Sunny Dog. Give her a kiss on the nose for me. :)

Ana said...

And yes getting a service dog certification must not be too hard. They have a catergory now of "emotional support" dogs. For people that stress or don't want to go out, the dog is there to offer comfort. Catch is...there's no training, it's a companion dog, but if it's designated for your emotional support you can order the little vest and have them sit in the seat next to you on the plane AT NO CHARGE! (Just had a friend do this.)

So if they require too many official proofy things to verify Sunny-dog's wonderful talent, then just say she's there for your emotional support. ;-)