Nolan & Nerys

By | Seizure Alert

4 Paws For Ability: “Instead of stares or avoidance, people are constantly coming up to us commenting on how beautiful Nerys is and engaging with Nolan as a result. She has opened social grace and acceptance we were not expecting.”
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Dogs Making a Difference: Andy & Lady

By | Seizure Alert, Service Dog Stories, Veteran Assistance

Dear 4 Paws,

My name is Andy and I am a disabled Veteran. I have multiple physical disabilities and PTSD due to injuries obtained overseas. I was blessed to receive a beautiful service dog named Lady from your establishment in November of 2015. When I got her, I never imagined the kind of bond we would build. She has become my constant companion and my best friend. She goes everywhere I go and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Lady is doing so well. She is a happy dog in her down time but when it’s time for work, she suits up and she’s ready to go. We make a great team. She has helped me in so many ways. She gives me relief from my anxiety of leaving the house and being in crowds or even just going to the grocery store. She helps alert me to oncoming seizures and has significantly reduced the amount of seizures I have. She comforts me and stays by my side or even on top me of when I am having a PTSD episode. She is able to get my mind to transition back to reality and bring me back to a place where I am able to function. She not only helps me but she helps others as well. Some people tell me they feel comfort by just seeing her out with me. I take her with me to the VA for my doctor’s appointments she is able to bring comfort to a lot of other Veterans who get to see her and visit with her. They light up when they see her. She opens doors to conversations I wouldn’t normally initiate myself which helps with my social anxiety. There are countless ways that she helps me navigate through my day. She has brought love and joy back into my life and I could not be more thankful. Thank you for providing me with the absolute best fit for my needs. Thank you for doing what you do and brining me the best gift anyone could ask for.

Sincerely,

Andy

Dogs Making a Difference: Austin & Paris

By | Seizure Alert, Service Dog Stories

Austin and Paris by Ericha Flateau

Austin’s journey with epilepsy has been nothing but sporadic. At first, his seizures were few and far between. He would experience drop seizures that seemed to only last a matter of seconds and that would only occur every couple of weeks. After the first initial seizures, these drop attacks would occur every 30 minutes. At this point, his physician started him on an anticonvulsant medication and Austin’s seizures disappeared. I honestly thought we were in the clear, but I was naive to think that because 18 months later, our world was shaken when Austin experienced a grand mal seizure. His seizure type had changed and they continued to occur for months despite increased medication. I was overwhelmed, but I was determined to do whatever I could to protect my child. I started doing my research and was able to find something that could save Austin’s life every day, that would allow us both to live each day without worry, and that would help his little life be more “normal”. I found 4 Paws for Ability, a non-profit organization that provides service dogs to disabled children and veterans. I read that this organization even produced service dogs trained in Seizure Alert! At that point, I really had nothing to lose, so I jumped in feet first.

After weeks of fundraising and months of waiting to meet Austin’s perfect match, 4 Paws for Ability placed us with a life-line; Paris. Paris is a Multipurpose Service Dog, and in addition to Seizure Alert she is also trained in Behavior Disruption and Tracking/Search and Rescue. We have had Paris now for 3 years and she has truly surpassed all my expectations. Within weeks of coming home with us, Paris picked up on subclinical spikes in Austin’s seizure activity that were not previously detected in his neurological testing. When Austin’s health deteriorated and his seizure frequency increased, Paris even picked up a new skill; Mobility Assistance. I am happy to report that Austin’s health has increased in recent months and that he is now in a much better place medically. Paris is a miracle that has allowed me to gain control over my son’s disability. Without her and our journey with 4 Paws for Ability, I can honestly say that I don’t know where we would be.

Maya & Miami

By | Seizure Alert, Service Dog Stories

July 1, 2010. From Kristen, Mother to Maya and SD Miami. It’s been almost two weeks since the training and I am still bursting with gratitude. The trainers Jeremy, Jennifer, Kayla, Kristie, and Jessalyn were extraordinary. Knowledgeable, supportive, funny, helpful, compassionate, gifted. Karen is inspiring. Suzanne the vet was really helpful. 4 Paws staff members were friendly and approachable. The families rocked! The dogs are all amazing. I kept clapping for them! Thanks to all!

The atmosphere was wonderful-relaxed, supportive.  On the first day, Jeremy told us he knew kids would have melt downs, run across the room, scream, cry, seize during class. None of it would bother the trainers. He just wanted to make sure we could hear him, so just let him know if he needed to adjust the mike. How I wish most places I go would adopt that mentality!!

Getting to hang out with other families experiencing some similar challenges was also a gift So is this list for that matter. Thanks to all who are on it and share struggles, silly stories, possible solutions, and hope.

It is wonderful to be home with Miami! She is awesome. Maya had a tough week last week -having 33 partial complex seizures. Miami was around for about half of those and helped alert me to 3 of them when I was in another room. She sleeps by Maya at night. Maya loves when we practice “over.” She likes the deep pressure. Most times it makes her laugh.

She loves to throw the tennis ball with Miami (Maya has a longer attention span for that than Miami does). Maya likes to give her treats. Maya also likes to bring all of Miami’s toys to her regardless of where Miami is (we’re working on gently bringing them to her, also working on helping Maya handle surprise licks and surprise sniffing, and occasional incidental scratching with a paw.) Miami is super sweet with neighbor kids, dogs, and cats. Awesome blessing to have Miami in our family. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you 4 Paws!!!…Kristen

Dogs Making a Difference: Flame and Joel

By | Seizure Alert, Service Dog Stories, Supporters

Freshpet is a proud partner of 4 Paws For Ability, a very special organization that custom-trains assistance dogs for children facing a variety of challenges.

Freshpet is sending crates of fresh dog food to 4 Paws that they’re using to feed moms, puppies, and as high value training treats. And they’ve allowed us to share the stories of a few families who have received one of these amazing dogs.Today we’re featuring Joel and seizure assistance dog Flame, a papillon. They were matched together in June 2013, and their mom Amy tells us about the amazing difference their new furry family member has made in their lives:

“Besides being trained for seizure alert, Flame is also a social bridge for Joel. Due to the severity of his epilepsy, in his early teens he was homebound for over two years. He went from an active 5th grader to almost couch-bound until 8th grade. Not going back to school until 8th grade was very daunting for Joel, and the fear of having a seizure at school was overwhelming. We were blessed for Flame to be able to start 8th grade with Joel. She made a huge difference in Joel’s outlook for attending public school again. He is now a very successful senior taking college classes at the Columbus Zoo, with dreams of working with animals as his career.”

Dogs Making a Difference: Priscilla and Madison

By | Seizure Alert, Service Dog Stories

Madison and Priscilla by Rumisha Barbee Rice

My daughter is severely disabled. She is 10, but depends on us for every day care from bathing to dressing, coloring etc… Madison never really reached to pet our dogs we had prior to Priscilla, now it’s a common sight to see her reach for her. I knew bonding would be hard since Madison is wheelchair dependent and has very limited mobility, but Priscilla follows us all over the house with Madison without calling her to do so! I look forward to the day Priscilla seeks her out for more than the medical alerts she provides!!

Dogs Making a Difference: Thunderbolt and Caleb

By | Mobility Assistance, Multipurpose Assistance, Seizure Alert, Service Dog Stories, Supporters

Freshpet is a proud partner of 4 Paws For Ability, a very special organization that custom-trains assistance dogs for children facing a variety of challenges.

Freshpet is sending crates of fresh dog food to 4 Paws that they’re using to feed moms, puppies, and as high value training treats. And they’ve allowed us to share the stories of a few families who have received one of these amazing dogs.Today we’re featuring Caleb and multi-purpose service dog Thunderbolt, a goldendoodle. They were matched together this past July, and their mom Rachael tells us about the irreplaceable role Thunderbolt plays in their lives:

“What will forever stand out about Caleb meeting Thunderbolt is the absolute pure joy we witnessed. It is something we don’t get to see all the time. The giggles and laughs we heard from Caleb were sounds we haven’t heard in a very long time. We witnessed a happiness that we have not been able to see very often due to his chronic nonstop pain.

“The greatest gift that Thunderbolt gives Caleb is freedom. Freedom to be a carefree boy that gets to play, run and laugh with his furry best friend. Thunderbolt provides Caleb with so much love and joy, and helps him forget all the pain, if even just briefly. That is something we can’t do for him. Thunderbolt provides us with security knowing that he is being watched, protected and comforted during the darkest moments.”

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