Dena Sonneborn wrote -
Jake is two years old. Like many toddlers, Jake loves chocolate chip cookies, singing, and getting into his older siblings’ stuff. Unlike many 2-year-olds, Jake has severe epilepsy. Since his second birthday, Jake has spent 40 days in the hospital and tried nine different medications to control his seizures. He currently takes a regimen of four different medications; however seizures are still a daily part of our lives.
On a typical morning, we wake up around 2 AM to Jake seizing. His seizures are silent, so he sleeps next to us in our bed so we can feel his little body tensing when the seizure starts. We quickly check to see if he is still breathing or turning blue and start counting how long the seizure lasts while we note the time. If we are lucky, this will be his only seizure of the night. Many nights we repeat this process two or three times. Sometimes the seizures require his emergency medications. The worst is when he stops breathing or doesn’t stop seizing and we call 911. The paramedics have been to our house multiple times and even know Jake’s name, history and condition before they arrive.
A Service Dog for Jake
“Have you ever thought about a seizure dog?” one of our doctors asked us in the middle of the night after a particularly bad seizure. Nights in the hospital with a sick child can be long, so we had plenty of time to learn about these amazing animals and how they can help children like Jake with epilepsy and developmental delays as well as children with autism or other conditions. As we learned more about service animals, we realized a Seizure Assistance Dog could help Jake achieve more independence. Jake has been accepted for placement of a 4 Paws for Ability Service Dog that will
be trained especially for him as a Seizure Assistance Dog. Jakes dog will provide the following:
- Seizure Response: respond to seizures so we can act quickly
- Seizure Detection: detect seizure and alert before seizure begins
- Behavior Disruption: distract Jake from self-injurious behavior
- Tethering: in crowded areas a second lead used for Jake's safety
4 Paws for Ability is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization with a unique approach to fundraising: they partner with their clients and by doing so are able to place dogs without a long wait list. It will cost 4 Paws $22,000 to place a dog with Jake. We are committed, as volunteers, to raising $13,000 and can reach our goal with your help. No donation is too small.