Friday, April 18, 2008

Dog Trained To Get Help For Epileptics

April 17, 2008

Eight-year-old Spencer Wyatt says having epilepsy doesn't interfere much with his day-to-day activities. But for his mother, Amy Wyatt, it's a constant source of stress, not knowing when Spencer's next seizure will come.
Says Wyatt: "I feel like I constantly need to be near him, because he can't call out for help."

Spencer's dog was a gift from Canine Assistants, a non-profit group that trains dogs to assist people with disabilities. There's been little research to prove that dogs can sense seizures in advance. But even the ones who don't have this skill can give their owners a sense of independence, Canine Assistants founder Jennifer Arnold said.

"I don't have to have other people staying with me all the time anymore, keeping an eye on me," said Mitch Peterson, of Downstate Monmouth. who has a seizure response dog named London. Peterson, who once fell down a flight of stairs during a seizure, said London is "right on top of it" when it comes to warning him about an episode.

The dogs take 18 months to train and would cost about $18,500. But Canine Assistants provides them for free. Spencer will go to a two-week training camp, where he will meet and then learn how to care for his "new best friend."


1 comment:

  1. Isn't it amazing what animals can do! I had heard that dogs can sniff out cancer in some, but I never knew that they could be there for epileptics! It makes me wonder as I sit here with my dog who is staring up at me like, "can I have one of those crackers too?"


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