image***A few disclaimers:  This post was originally posted on our personal blog: – All of the links (with the exception of the 4Paws for Ability) go back to previous posts in our personal blog.***


**We are excited to travel this road with service dogs.  The literature on seizure dogs is still new, but more and more people endorse the fact that dogs can be trained to detect seizures.  We feel strongly that this could be a benefit to our entire community.  Although there are “cheaper” places to get service dogs, many of our children would not qualify.  In the fine print of most service places it has minimum age requirements and minimum verbal and cognitive requirements.  We support 4Paws for Ability because they have neither.  You can use any of their links to check them out.  **


When Alexander was born, we knew he had a 90-100% chance of developing seizures.


We suspected he was having minor seizures late summer and his neurologist went ahead and began a regimen of Keppra.


Thanksgiving evening… I was so “relaxed” I didn’t have any Diastat (It is Valium) with us – Alexander had his first Grand Mal seizure.  It lasted 4 minutes.  It was the longest 4 minutes of my life. (to that point).  All we could do was watch Alexander seize.  He pulled himself out of the seizure and we put Diastat everywhere.


The seizures only got worse from there… A year ago we battled seizures all spring.  They got progressively longer… 15 minutes, 30 minutes, to … hours.  We were helicoptered to Hershey Medical center many times.  He still only weighted less than 10 lbs.  It seemed the seizure part of the syndrome hit our family hard.



We stopped sleeping.  I began to really eat my stress.  We began to switch meds to try to control his seizures.  Alexander became a zombie at times, was alert at times, and continued to seize.  We had looked into a service dog for Alexander.  We knew that service dogs “existed” for seizures, but we also knew you could get multiple disciplinary dogs.  We were hoping to get one for him once we knew how extensive his needs were.  It became apparent – a “seizure dog” was going to be necessary – immediately.  I wrote THIS POST.



imageThe money came.  Like a miracle – by the time the woman from 4 Paws for Ability offered help with fundraising, we told her a check was on the way.  She was stunned into silence.  Between the donations, the generosity of our friends, family, and … people we’ve never met, and Alexander’s auction – we raised $14,000 in 2 months.  An unbelievable feat. Please read HERE – about 1/2 way down… is a “Heartfelt Thank You” … Because we do.


4 Paws for Ability began to train our dog… and now the days are counting down.


This is life changing for our entire family.


There are SO many things that are going to happen in about a week….


image1. We will go for 2 weeks for training on how to “work” the dog.  What commands to say.  What commands not to say.  How to train the dog as he/she comes home with us.  All the “do’s” and “don’ts” of working with the dog.  We could accidentally undo some of the training if we are not careful.  **I was going to wait until we came home to say we were leaving – but seriously – we have nothing to steal.  So.. what difference does it make?**


2.  We are taking the twins, a family member, Alexander (obviously), and us… 6 people in a 7 seater minivan. With 2 weeks worth of clothing, food staples, medical supplies, toys… and other things. And then – we will return with a dog in addition. Oh. My. Gosh. Truth: I have no idea how we will all squeeze in…


3.  So… we’ve been asked about a million questions about the dog – and here is the first of several posts to answer some of those questions.  image

  • We still do not know the breed of the dog, but we do know it will be a large dog.
  • We will probably find out the breed of the dog this week someday.
  • We will be allowed to take the dog anywhere – restaurants, Wal-Mart, etc.… – but we will also be allowed to leave the dog at home, and might. (See more on that in a minute.)
  • The dog will be trained to “give” things to Alexander and do other simple service tasks.  The dog will also be trained to alert when a seizure is occurring.


4.  We do have a bit of a problem.  The dog must bond with Alexander. This is only a problem because the twins are at the age where they will want to hug and kiss the dog… and Alexander is not quite there yet.  The dog must bond with Alexander and not the twins.  This is really going to take some doing – and might actually mean the IMG_0691twins have to spend more time away from home for the bonding to occur.  This is something that makes me a little nervous… the bonding has to happen with Alexander. It isn’t something we can’t get over, but something that we will really have to work on.  Just one more “special” thing for Alexander…. **stink** for my other children.


5.  The dog is not guaranteed to alert us before a seizure happens.  It should be able to tell us when a seizure is happening.  We are, however, very fortunate.  In the fall, we were headed to a birthday party for my grandmother…. I didn’t care for Alexander’s outfit, so I changed it right before we left.  He ended up having a seizure in the car…. Because of this seizure – we have outfit with his “aura” from before the seizure, his “aura” during the seizure, and his “aura” on a normal day.  We are one step ahead of most people… just by happenstance.


6.  This week is a week of … craziness.


DSC_0062 * We have to put our family pet down.  Not because 4 Paws for Ability requires it, but our family dog is a rescue dog from before I met Ray.  He snaps.  I don’t trust him around the kids, so they don’t interact much.  He is old… like 14.  He doesn’t get around like he should.  We can’t have him teach the new service dog – bad tricks.  Ugh. It is so hard.  But, we really don’t have much of a choice… Jack’s health is failing quickly anyway.


* We are moving the kids rooms around.  We are giving Alexander the bigger bedroom.  The twins only have beds in their room – see HERE for reasons why. I think we are even going to bunk their beds.  Alexander’s room has 2 dressers, a changing table, some equipment, his crib – which will soon be a bed, and a pack – and – play for Andrew to take naps in. (Again, back to the previous post for reasons.)


* We ordered a new bed for Alexander.  We ordered a day bed…. It needs to function like a crib (to keep him safe) – but have enough space for a dog to lay with him. We think this will be best all around.


We picked 4 Paws for Ability because they will take children with a variety of special needs.  Many service dogs have stiff requirements – such as being verbal or a minimum age … and 4 paws for Ability does not.  They also have a great reputation.


I’m scared.  This is going to change our entire life.  Please don’t let me screw this up.  So many people have come through for this – for our baby.  Please don’t let us disappoint the people who believed in us.


One Response to Seizure Alert Dog

  1. shirley bidnick says:

    This is a creative approach. I look forward to seeing how it works out.

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