Thursday, October 18, 2007

Boise Dog Show gives award to pet who warned owner of upcoming seizures

A very important pet was honored Saturday at the Boise Dog Show as the winner of the Seventh Annual AKC awards for Canine Excellence.

The program recognizes top service dogs who make daily life better for their owners.

This year's winner is Holly, a 6-year-old Shetland sheepdog, who helps alert her master Shanna Wilkinson to seizures.

Holly has been with Wilkinson since she was a puppy and began displaying unusual behaviors around her owner just before the girl would have a seizure. Eventually Wilkinson was diagnosed with epilepsy and it was discovered that Holly has a rare ability to predict seizures five or 10 minutes before they occur.

"She's really given me my life back, because when I was 17, I was a teenager and had a life when I started having seizures. I couldn't do anything and with Holly she's given me back my independence and I'm going to school and now I can hang out with friends," said Shanna Wilkenson, the dog's owner.

Wilkenson doesn't know exactly how some dog's are able to predict seizures, but with the advance warning she's always able to get to a safe place before her seizure hits.

Holly will also receive a $1,000 check during the nationally televised AKC/Eukanuba National Championship show this December.


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