Sunday, February 10, 2013

St. Valentine Does Double Duty as Patron Saint of Seizure Dogs

Let's face it. The Catholic Church has a lot of human suffering to cover. If there aren't enough saints to go around, some have to multi-task.

St. Valentine, traditionally the patron saint of love, does double duty as the saint who watches over those suffering from epilepsy. Since this blog is about dogs, I'm stretching his duties to include patron saint of seizure-alert dogs.

My Seizure Dog
According to the Epilepsy Foundation this is what a seizure alert dog does:

They are an alarm system. They are helpers, protectors and service providers. So-called seizure response dogs can be all these things – and more.The term "seizure dog" covers a variety of activities associated with a service dog's response to an epileptic seizure. Some dogs have been trained to bark or otherwise alert families when a child has a seizure while playing outside or in another room. Some dogs learn to lie next to someone having a seizure to prevent injury. Others are said to be able to activate alarm systems. Dogs that are trained to respond in various ways when someone has a seizure are no different from service dogs for other disabilities. Public interest in seizure assistance dogs has fueled demand for dogs with these skills. Some people with epilepsy have found that trained seizure dogs help them with securing speedy assistance when a seizure occurs or alerting others for help. Dogs can be trained as service animals for people with seizures and the law protects a person's right to use the animal in any public place. 
Find out more about how the dogs are trained and how they know when to alert to seizures in US NEWS (November 27, 2009) 

It continues to be a topic that's not clearly understood. And there are skeptics.  Find out what they have to say - Neurology, 2007.

No matter what you think, make sure you kiss your pooch, seizure-alert dog or not, on Valentines' Day.

1 comment:

  1. Very interesting articles! I really haven't heard much about 'seizure alert dogs' before, there is still so much we don't understand about the dogs we live with, they study and know us better than we know ourselves. So I guess it stands to reason they are able to pick up slight nuances in our behaviour, the blessing is that some are able to do the 'alert stuff' and get help when it's needed.