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I have a new member of my medical team.

By July 18, 2015 March 19th, 2017 No Comments

25 Ways the Americans with Disabilities Act has Changed Lives

23 Oreo & Tess23. I have a new member of my medical team.

Service dogs are task-trained to mitigate the impacts of disability. This looks different for each service dog team. A mobility dog might pick up dropped items, an autism assistance dog might disrupt behaviors, and a seizure alert dog might indicate an oncoming seizure and get help when it is happening. Each of these dogs is medically prescribed and part of a package of resources used to help their partner safely navigate the world.

Although Oreo was trained primarily as a seizure alert dog, her family has found that alerts to so much more. She lets her mom know when Tess is going to have a seizure, an ear infection, an upper-respiratory infection and, based on Oreo’s behavior around Tess, her family has learned to trust her to indicate how serious an illness is because Oreo knows, even before they do, that Tess is in trouble. Thanks to the ADA, Oreo is allowed to accompany Tess to all of her medical appointments and hospital stays which means, not only does her family and her doctors get to have another team member to ‘consult’ with, it means Tess gets her best buddy with her during some of the scariest times in her life.

“When we got Oreo we had no idea that she would become such a vital member of Tess’s medical team. And I mean that in a very literal sense. Oreo is so attuned to Tess that her doctors, from Maine to Boston will ask me when I call with concerns, ‘…and what is Oreo telling you?’. They also take their cues from Oreo during office visits or hospital visits. If Oreo gets up and places herself physically between them and Tess, unless it is vital that they keep helping Tess, they will back off for a bit because Oreo is letting me know that ‘Tess has had enough for the moment’.”

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