Adding to the never-ending list of things for why we love dogs, smart and loyal service dog Flint is not only improving the life of a disabled person, but a disabled person who happens to be an 11-year old girl.
Alyssa Howes, 11, lost her sight and started having seizures when she was just 4 years old. The number of seizures quickly grew out of control, sometimes reaching up to 20 a day.
Alyssa’s family struggled with the girl’s condition for several years. Her grandmother was so worried that she would stay in the child’s room at night, carefully watching for attacks.
Everyone’s life improved about three years ago, when Alyssa got a very special gift – a golden retriever named Flint. The gift was not only special, but also highly unusual. While service dogs are fairly common among people with disabilities, most nonprofit organizations only offer them to people starting with the age of 16.
Flint was given to the little girl courtesy of Karen Shirk and her nonprofit, Paws for Ability. Their goal is to team up service dogs with people suffering from disabilities in order to provide them with companionship and an overall improved quality of life.
Now, Flint is providing Alyssa with a more normal life than the one the child experienced earlier in life. He alerts her family to seizures and guides her so that she doesn’t fall, thus allowing her to have more freedom.
Juliette Palomaki, Alyssa’s mother, gave a statement saying that Flint “gives her a companion to enjoy the moments when she is doing things she likes to do. And if she is having a bad day, she will call him and they will just be together”.
It is no secret that multiple studies, veterinarians and trainers have proved in the past that dogs can detect of number of things. They can sense when someone is about to have a seizure, when someone suffers from cancer, or when someone is close to dying. They can sense when earthquakes are about to start, and when the weather is about to change.
Man’s best friend has been helping us in every aspect of our lives ever since we domesticated them. We have hero dogs trained to help police officers detect dangerous drugs, service dogs trained to aid the blind and the deaf in performing their daily routines, actor dogs trained to pretend they’re someone they’re not, but really, basically what they are doing is stealing every scene that they’re in.
Then there are the ‘normal’ dogs. Our loyal, lovable, fluffy pets that don’t necessarily have any particularly remarkable skill sets. Some win contests for the way they look, the way they can obey a command, or the way they can complete a task. Some inspire people to paint a tableau, compose a song, or write a story.
Others go for runs with people, or simply hang out around them when they exercise, making it easier, and downright fun for certain persons to keep in shape.
And, of course, there are also dogs that stay at home and make sure that they’re keeping it safe for themselves and their humans, dogs that snuggle next to you when you’re sad or sick, and dogs that take care of your other pets, or even your children.
But what all dogs do, is make us happy. They makes us smile, they make us want to be better people. The people that they see when they look at us.
Image Source: ctvnews.ca