A seizure sniffing dog gives people with epilepsy a better quality of life. For 18-year-old Haley, her dog Dunkin has been a life-saver, literally.
“I don’t think I could ever fully express everything positive that Dunkin has brought into my life,” Haley said, “whether it be independence so I could go out by myself and not have to worry about getting hurt or just making me feel better on the worst days of my life.”
Around 65 million people worldwide have epilepsy, including 3.4 million in the United States alone. For people living with disabilities like epilepsy, a service dog can improve their quality of life dramatically.
Seizure sniffing dogs can alert their owner to an imminent seizure up to an hour before it happens. This allows their partner time to take precautions such as lying down or getting out of crowded areas. Being able to alert their owner before a seizure happens can prevent injuries from falls.
Haley said this:
“He helped me get all through middle school, and now all through high school as I’m graduating this year. I’m truly convinced that if it weren’t for him, I would not be where I am today.”
Dunkin is a 6-year-old Labrador Staffy mix with a heart of gold. He’s trained as a seizure sniffing dog, always on alert and ready to help Haley at any sign of distress. He’s the best service dog around, providing Haley with love, support, and comfort. Dunkin makes a great companion, but he stays focused on his duties as a service dog.
What can seizure sniffing dogs do?
“Dunkin alerts me to my seizures before when they happen, and he will also alert me to my heart rate when it gets too high. In the situation where I am having a seizure, he will go under me to protect my head, and he will also go find help,” Haley explains.
“Now, whether I’m with my mom or my brother or whoever I’m with, he’ll go find them and bring them back to me. He also performs multiple behavioral interruptions that are destructive to me or helps me refocus on whatever I’m doing.”
Seizure alert dogs can assist their owner in many important ways, such as:
- Displaying alert behaviors before a seizure occurs
- Remaining close to its owner during a seizure to prevent injuries
- Alerting a caretaker, family member, or emergency response system
- Fetching a telephone, alert device, or medication
- Opening a door or turning on a light
Seizure sniffing dogs have an innate capability of detecting impending seizures. Experts still don’t know exactly how they can detect seizures. However, they believe that the individual gives off a certain scent before a seizure, which the dog picks up on. Dogs that can detect this have been trained to alert their partner so he or she can make preparations.
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Common alert behaviors of seizure sniffing dogs include:
- Close eye contact
- Circling or pacing movements
- Restless behavior
A seizure sniffing dog can provide their owner with peace of mind, safety, and mobility. Detecting seizures ahead of time means the owner can go in public without fear of being hurt during a seizure. Because of this, they can enjoy a better quality of life knowing that their dog is looking out for them.
Other ways Dunkin brings positivity into people’s lives
Not only does Dunkin improve Haley’s life, but he also brings happiness to other humans as well. One day while running errands, Haley and Dunkin helped a little boy get over his fear of dogs. Normally, Haley doesn’t allow others to pet Dunkin because he could miss an alert, but she made an exception that day.
“There was this little boy with his mom, and I’m assuming he had a major fear of dogs. Obviously, Dunkin would never hurt a fly, but he kept looking at him, then looking at his mom. He asked his mom why [Dunkin] had a vest on, and his mom did a very good job of educating him on service dogs and to not touch them,” Haley recalls.
“But, of course, he’s a kid and was like, ‘I wanna pet the dog.’ His mom looked kind of shocked, and she was like, ‘Sweetie, you don’t like dogs.’”
That’s when Haley knew they had crossed paths for a reason. If petting Dunkin would help the little boy overcome his fear of dogs, she wanted to make it happen.
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“So, I brought Dunkin over, and the boy did pet him, and his mom was absolutely shocked that he went near Dunkin. He was petting him for about a good minute, and he looked up at his mom and said, ‘Mommy, I want a dog.’”
“Knowing that I helped the little boy overcome his fears like that, it makes me just really happy.”
While Dunkin may behave like an angel and is well-trained, he didn’t get that way overnight. Haley says that it took patience, consistency, and time to learn how to become a seizure sniffing dog. She says that training is probably the most rewarding part of owning a pet, however.
They have 8 rescue dogs at home and have trained them all, helping them overcome any issues. She added that if you get them as puppies, it’s a lot of work. If you stay persistent and don’t give up on them, though, you can have a dog trained like Dunkin in no time!
Final thoughts on seizure sniffing dog Dunkin who protects his owner Haley
Dogs have been trained for centuries to do a variety of tasks. Today, they’re used for solving crimes, providing emotional support, and even detecting seizures. Dunkin, a 6-year-old Labrador Staffy mix, helps alert his teenaged owner Haley to upcoming seizures. She says that without him, she wouldn’t have been able to live with her condition.
Millions of people suffer from seizures worldwide, and many don’t know why they have them. In some cases, a seizure-sniffing dog like Dunkin can save their life.