Sara received notice that she can attend a training camp for a service dog through Canine Assistants next year. They are having her adopt one of their dogs. These dogs are trained to assist a person with a seizure disorder. The dogs can give a person a phone. The dog can lay with the person until the seizure is over. The dog can open a drawer where the owner keeps medications. Dogs have been trained to alert other family members after their owner had a seizure. Dogs can open the refrigerator and bring someone a bottle of water. Sara has been on a waiting list for this dog for four years.

I have an incident that comes to mind where a dog could have helped us greatly. If McDonald’s had seen that Sara had special needs we could have avoided a three ring circus. Sara was out with her day program and they stopped at a local fast food chain. Sara told the staff she was having a seizure. The staff responded by applying her bracelet which contains a magnet. This will let off an impulse and help stop or slow down her seizure. The VNS is implanted under the pectoral muscle. The manager called the police. The police then called an ambulance. The ambulance made arrangements to transport Sara to a hospital. Sara who is a well-trained self- advocate recovered quickly from her short seizure said she did not have to go to the hospital.  The program director arrived at the locations and was able to “negotiate” the release of our daughter. Our doctor has worked closely with us and has approved the following plan for Sara. If she has a typical short partial complex seizure she should go home, rest, and take extra medication. Every family should have a doctor approved plan for their particular type of seizures and our plan might not be good for another patient. I think if Sara had been accompanied by her service dog the McDonald’s would have seen that this is a young person with special needs. They may have realized the people with her were performing a medical treatment. As a parent I am sure that I need to send Sara out in the community if she is going to experience adulthood. It is often hard to be brave enough to let her out the door. Sending Sara out in the community with her dog will help me give Sara the freedom she deserves, increase her safety, and expand her horizons. For me the dog can’t arrive soon enough.

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