Chewie, My Guardian Angel
Today's the day I'm discharged from the hospital. Home sweet home!
Here's the story of how I got there:
I was in my backyard doing 'yard-work', and a strange feeling came over me. It's hard to describe. A sort of dizzy/out of control feeling blinked before my eyes. The next thing I remember, I was in the back of an ambulance...but even that part is foggy.
Long story short, I had a seizure. After falling face-down in the decorative stones, I lost concsiousness as my body convulsed. While this was happening, I was alone outside.
Except for my three dogs.
My husband; still at work. My sons; upstairs completely unaware anything was wrong.
Who knows how long I would have remained unhelped in the yard while all the humans in my life were elsewhere in the house completely unaware of a problem. (We'd just finished dinner, so no one had any reason to worry. We were together just minutes prior to this episode.)
Chewie to the rescue!
My son heard a strange, incessant, barking. Not the normal sound our dogs make while playing outside, or greeting bark to a passer-by. As my son describes it, this bark was different. So he came downstairs to investigate.
He found me lying prone in the dirt and stones, with Chewie standing over me signaling a warning, not leaving my side.
My sons jumped into action, and took over the 'rescue-mission.'
My second saviors.
They called 911, alerted the rest of my family, and stayed with me until paramedics came to take over.
My team of saviors.
Through all of it, I don't remember anything except the moment right before the seizure, and then arriving at the hospital. Everything in between is black and confused. If I'm honest, even afterward is a gray area.
But without Chewie alerting everyone that there was a problem, it could possibly have taken hours until anyone found me.
A scary thought, to say the least.
I'd heard of dogs that are trained to detect medical conditons. So I decided to do some research to find out more.
An organization called Paws With A Cause trains dogs for exactly this purpose. "PAWS Seizure Response Dogs are custom-trained to assist people who have epilepsy or other seizure disorders with tasks such as activating a life-alert system, finding someone to help, retrieving a phone or stimulating a person during a seizure. As a person recovers from a seizure, a PAWS Dog can retrieve medications or food, act as a brace to help them up and provide comfort."
Chewie did much of that without any training. My mixed-breed Saint Bernese (half Bernese Mountain Dog, half Saint Bernard), silly, lovable puppy named Chewbacca sensed the problem on his own. Pretty amazing, right?
Dogs are amazing. They're more than pets. They are members of your family. And they feel the same about you. You're not their owners, you are important members of their pack. Pack animals protect each other.
I'm just so thankful for my family. Both human and canine.
I'm a pretty lucky girl...except for having my driver's license taken away by the doctors for 6 months.
I'm not happy about that. But, that's a blog for another day!
Kristen L. Jackson, Author of KEEPER OF THE WATCH
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