Monday, January 27, 2014

Captain's Log...Day Five

Okay, my bad, I skipped days three and four but in my defense, there really wasn't much to report.

Unless you count hours and hours and hours of driving in a total blizzard and seeing eighteen wheelers, cars, and trucks off the road, worthy of reporting. Or the fact that last night, while getting Tess ready for bed, the hubs spasmed his back and was in agonizing pain until late today. Not fun or easy trying maneuver a disabled child who is heavy, along with her wheelchair, which is also heavy, in and out of hotel rooms, vehicles, and training facilities all day long. And with a wife who has fibromyalgia so her back is wrecked all of the time, makes for some tricky footwork. But we soldiered on. We didn't come here just to let a few back spasms and fibromyalgia slow us down!

So today was THE BIG DAY!

Tess finally met her seizure alert dog Oreo and while it wasn't magical bonding at first site, Oreo was a total rockstar!

Tess fell asleep and slept most of the day which we expected because that is what she does in situations where she feels overwhelmed. Well, let me tell you,  a room full of excited kids, adults, and dogs is enough to make even the strongest of us want a little break. Tess did wake up here and there and we would have Oreo come over and get treats from her and Tess seemed to like that.

This morning, after meeting with Oreo for all of about an hour we noticed she got all wiggly and excited and randomly started licking Tessie's hand then digging her muzzle into Tessie's chest and proceeded to repeatedly lick at her mouth. We thought Oreo was giving "kisses".

We are so stupid.

The main trainer of 4Paws had been watching the whole thing and after Oreo calmly laid down, came over to talk with us. He told us that he thought Oreo had just alerted to a seizure based on her behavior. His point was, she hadn't been called over to Tess, Tess hadn't made any noise, and no commands had been given to Oreo to give Tess loves. Oreo approached her randomly and excitedly all on her own. That is what they are trained to do when scenting a seizure.

Holy awesome dog, Oreo!

After that, I noticed that Jeremy (the trainer) kept a very close eye on Oreo and Tess. And yes, my friends, our awesome Oreo alerted THREE MORE TIMES over the course of the day! It was even pointed out to the class while she was alerting so that the families who were also getting seizure dogs would know what signals to look for in their dogs. I'm telling you, it was unreal! And as soon as it was over, maybe ten to twenty seconds, Oreo would go back to doing whatever she had been doing before she smelled the seizure.

We love this dog! Granted, these are small seizures that we know Tess has many times throughout the day that we didn't need to help Tess with, but I've always wanted to know how many "little" seizures Tess has in a day but never could figure out because we would often miss them. Now, thanks to Oreo, we may just get some answers. And if the dog is this good at the "little" ones, can you imagine how good she'll be to alerting to the Grand Mal seizures?

We also went over the basic commands of "sit" and "down" and learned A LOT. These people know their stuff! Oreo was a champ at the obedience practice that we did with her. There is much more to learn but I am convinced that Tess got her perfect match in Oreo.

So this was day one. Can't wait to see what day two brings!

       Oreo getting her reward for alerting to Tessie's seizure


  1. Sorry for Charlie's back pain but I am so excited that you met and love Oreo and she is doing what she is so well trained to do. I heard it is dangerously cold there so take good care and stay safe on the road. Hopefully Tessie will become more engaged as she becomes more acclimated to the lively environment. Ellie has her lasagna tonight and hopefully I can arrange for the Chinese food for tomorrow. <3 Mum-E

  2. This post really made me smile. It also made me tear-up just a little. Seems like Tess has received just the right dog (angel) she needs! I am really happy for you all. Love you
    Auntie L.

  3. WONDERFUL!!! One has to wonder if by Oreo going up to Tess and nudging her if they may in some way relax her through the small seizure so that it doesn't escalate into a bigger one. OH, just imagine a life with fewer, perhaps NO Grand Mal seizures. Praise God!!