Saturday, June 14, 2008

Gifted dog can predict seizures

If you are a dog owner, most likely there's a special place in your heart for your furry friend. If you're not, you can't deny they're, usually, pretty cute. But what if you knew that your dog could save your life?

That's exactly what Rogue has the potential to do for Shannon Vande Krol every day. Shannon works at Banner Gateway in Gilbert, 3 days a week, 12 hours a day. Everyday she brings her dog Rogue. Let's go back a bit, about 6 years ago Vande Krol started having seizures, not grand mal's but smaller, "I just look like I'm asleep," she says. It was about that time she adopted a dog and got pregnant. The pregnancy seemed to spur on the seizure's to a point that she was having about 6 a day! Shannon couldn't even leave her house.

During this time she started to notice Rogue, acting weird. Every time she would begin to have a small headache her dog would bark at her. "Then the third time, I said, I was like, that's kind of strange," so she started to pay close attention to her dog's reaction which seemed to be in line with her health situations. Not only did Rogue bark, but depending upon the severity would do other things, as if to warn Shannon. Rogue's ears would stand up, her tail between her legs, she would trip her, even walk back and forth to Shannon's bed over and over again.

And then, after Shannon had a seizure, Rogue would be laying right next to her when she woke up. It became clear to Shannon that her dog was warning and protecting her. Rogue knew she was going to be in trouble even before Shannon did. She would do this 15 to 45 minutes ahead of the danger so that she could seek safety.

How does Rogue do this? That's a question even scientists don't have an answer for right now. They wonder if it has something to do with a person's smell, "electrical" outputs or even a small change in body movements before an onset of seizure comes on. So it's not a question of if, but why, they're trying to answer.

Today, Shannon's seizures are less severe. In fact, she only has about one a month, but the danger is still there. So Rogue goes everywhere with Shannon. She has special permission, under the American with Disabilities Act, any service dog trained to provide assistance, regardless whether they are licensed or certified by government can perform that service. Rogue has no special training, just has a innate ability that's undeniably helpful.

So every other day or so.... the folks at Banner Gateway get to have a friend on four legs join them and they love it. Yes, Rogue helps Shannon, but maybe she's doing more than that... you can see on the face of a person who looks at a dog in an unexpected place, like in a hospital "the dogs presence alone here does something special for the rest of the staff," says Art Gallardo, Shannon's boss. And when you watch them work you see it.

Shannon brings a type of blanket, almost a security blanket, everyday when Rogue does to work with her.... she lays it down so she can get stuff done while her friend takes a break on a familiar spot. But Rogue finds security in much more than that piece of cloth, she finds it in the woman she loves and protects everyday. And Shannon gets it right back.


Post a Comment

<< Home