Three years ago Alyssa got a gift, a service dog named Flint. It changed the life of Alyssa’s Los Angeles area family.
The dog gives the 11 year old a more normal life by alerting her family to seizures, guiding her so she doesn’t fall and allowing her to have a bit more freedom.
Juliette Palomaki her mother said, “It gives her a companion to enjoy the moments when she is doing things she likes to do, and if she is having a bad day, she will call him and they will just be together.”
Service dogs are trained to help people with seizures, but not enough dogs are trained for children with epilepsy, Austin and other disabilities.
Most require a minor to be 16 so that they can handle dog alone in public.
Service dogs allow children to feel comfortable, free at school, parks and restaurants. In Alyssa’s case her grandmother used to take care of her during night in case of seizure, but now the service dog takes care of her and no one is required to guard at night.
Palomaki said, “Once we got Flint, she said she wanted to start sleeping on her own with him.”
Brandon McMillan, Animal behaviorist said, “Life shouldn’t be so complicated at 5, take a child who has a condition. Give them a dog. The dog opens up a world for this child. It’s important for a child’s life.”
Scientists say that pooches smell a chemical change when a person is about to seize, they just don’t agree how the dog do it.
At the training center dogs are trained to bark to signal seizure so an adult can give the child medicine.
If Flint detects a seizure, he will lick her, become very attentive, lie on her and bark.
Palomaki said, “When we hear him bark, we know something is up because he doesn’t bark for any other reason.”
Palomaki said, “She walks, talks and can read the whole Braille alphabet with one good hand. She’s a true joy, and they are a dynamic duo.”