Dogs Making a Difference – Kyto and Katie

By | Seizure Alert, Service Dog Stories

Kyto really is a super star. It’s been a rough week on all of us, and he’s not happy letting his girl have her blood drawn. He’s comforted her and me, hung close and pre alerted on multiple seizures. I can’t tell all of you waiting how absolutely life changing these dogs are. You’ll become absolutely dependent on them. I can watch him and know what kind of day Katie will have. Today was our 4th day in a row being at Dr. appointments, we had to leave the house super early and that’s always hard on Katie. He got up with me (4:30) went potty, ate, then insisted on going back to bed with Katie. This told me she wasn’t going to have a good day. He knows he can relax when she’s doing good, and he knows when to be on guard. 4 Paws really is magical.

Dogs Making a Difference – Coffee and Dylan

By | Seizure Alert, Service Dog Stories

One year ago today, we were touched by the 4 Paws magic and I can’t believe how much our lives have changed.  Dylan had failed all the anti seizure drugs before having 16 cm of his brain removed, but nothing we did could free him from this epilepsy monster. I was honestly at a complete loss, overwhelmed with defeat… hopeless.

I remember thinking, “I hope this dog can alert on Dylan’s seizures.”  That’s all I really wanted from him, but he has given us so much more than that.  Coffee and Dylan quickly became best buddies, something Dylan never had before. Kids at school never really gave Dylan a chance, but because they want to pet Coffee, they started talking to Dylan.  It’s not only kids, but adults too. Dylan is no longer invisible. People are actually starting to see him for the smart, funny, kindhearted guy that he is.

Before Coffee came into our lives, Dylan would have seizures weekly if not daily, sometimes 20 plus of those monsters a day! In the past year he has had 3… 3 seizures with Coffee. The week we were in Hawaii and Coffee wasn’t with him – he had 47 seizures. I’m not saying this magic dog stops Dylan from having seizures, it could all be a coincidence.  Or it could be that Dylan is so focused on Coffee that he misses some triggers. I can’t explain it.

The only fact that really matters is the seizures are decreasing tremendously and it all started with Coffee. I can’t thank 4 Paws enough for the new life they have given our family.

I have found a support system.

By | ADA 25 Celebration, Fundraising, Multipurpose Assistance, Seizure Alert, Service Dog Education, Service Dog Stories

25 Ways the Americans with Disabilities Act has Changed Lives

24 Bain &24. I have found a support system.

The Americans with Disabilities Act is a very large collection of laws to benefit what is often considered a single community, ‘Americans with disabilities’. Yet, this community is large and varied in their medical conditions and needs. Sometimes, the law of averages doesn’t work – what is needed to assist one person doesn’t help the next. And sometimes, it works in a very unique and interesting way. 4 Paws has found that while their community of clients is varied and diverse, they find a support system like none other they have ever encountered.

Bain & Sunder were matched in December 2014. For 12 days of training, they ‘fit in’. They were loved and accepted. They were ‘normal’ (what does normal mean, anyways…). Kiddos with disabilities and their families often feel left out or out of place in their everyday lives – but not at 4 Paws. At 4 Paws, Bain and Sunder were surrounded by people that ‘get it’. There they met Hunter and his new partner Angel, and the fabulous foursome became fast friends. Claira Beth received her service dog, Soliel, earlier, but they live near Bain and Sunder. While the support system has always extended outside the walls of 4 Paws, this picture of the 6 of them together (and one awesome big sister) says everything about finding friendship that words never could.

“Since the moment Bain first met Sunder, he has become more vocal and his attention span and focus ability has greatly increased. 4 Paws service dogs are magical in the services that they provide but also in ways that you would never expect. We love our 4 Paws extended family and the support that they offer! I have never been involved with any other groups that are as supportive and loving and accepting as 4 Paws for Ability and the 4 Paws family! Thank you will never be enough, but I will say it anyway! Thank you!”

Celebrate ADA! Donate today, #ADA25 #4PawsForADA

I have a new member of my medical team.

By | ADA 25 Celebration, Fundraising, Seizure Alert, Service Dog Education, Service Dog Stories

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’.”

Celebrate ADA! Donate today, #ADA25 #4PawsForADA

Universal designs enhance the experience for everyone, but are necessary for my participation.

By | ADA 25 Celebration, Fundraising, Seizure Alert, Service Dog Education, Service Dog Stories

25 Ways the Americans with Disabilities Act has Changed Lives

20 Katie & Kyto20. Universal designs enhance the experience for everyone, but are necessary for my participation.

Universal design is the idea of designing environments, such that all people have the best possible experience. This means accommodations required for people with disabilities to participate also enhance the experience for others. Like accessible bathrooms that also benefit a mom and her toddler, or large print guides that also assist the elderly. The ADA doesn’t require universal design, but has increased awareness and accessible concepts throughout our communities.

This is Katie and her service dog Kyto at Morgan’s Wonderland. It is the world’s first theme park designed with special-needs individuals in mind and built for everyone. Katie and her family all enjoyed the park, together. Inside you can find everything from playgrounds, sensory areas, a music garden, a walk and roll path, and Katie & Kyto’s favorite – the water works. Here Katie was in charge; she could play and laugh and even teach Kyto how to enjoy the water elements. It was designed such that she could participate fully, as it existed, without need for further accommodation. In this place Katie, Kyto, and every other visitor participates as they are.

“Since having Kyto enter our lives Katie has formed her first real attachment to an animal. She’s only tolerated them before. Now she seeks them out, to pet, play and cuddle. She was never able to do this before. This has helped open her to attachments to people. Before Kyto, Katie would get frustrated and hit, pinch or harm the people around her in some way. Now she seeks affection and companionship. She will randomly crawl in one of our laps just to hug us. I really believe Kyto played a huge roll in helping open this side of Katie. He’s enriched and expanded her life in more ways than I could ever say”.

Celebrate ADA! Donate today, #ADA25 #4PawsForADA