Now that PatientsLikeMe is open to any patient with any condition, we’ve noticed more patients with different conditions sharing similar lifestyle modifications. One example is the use of a service dog.
What are the benefits – both expected and unexpected – of a four-legged assistant? We asked some of our members to talk about their service dogs’ best qualities.
The Uncanny Seizure Predictor
- “[My seizure dog Mandy] has awakened me two times just as a seizure was about to start. I don’t know how she does it but she does. In fact, I had a seizure outside once (doesn’t happen often), and Mandy ran to a neighbor’s house and barked until they came to me.” - Mandysmother (Epilepsy patient)
The Sensitive Tear Licker
- “He is my balance dog. He knows when I am about to have a migraine or a seizure and he even knows when I am hurting. Isn’t that funny? He licks my tears when I am crying, and he knows when to stay away from me.” - Some1Special (Mental Health and Behavior patient)
The Good-Humored Mind Reader
- “[My service dog Mali] was the best decision I ever made. With her I now have some of my independence again, and for a woman who used to climb mountains and water ski, going to the store again after years never going anywhere alone, this means the world to me. The fact that Mali has a sense of humor and seems to read my mind is only another blessing to go along with my newfound freedom.” - Anahit (Fibromyalgia patient)
The Anti-Tripping Companion
- “My neurologist thinks the service dog is preventing my gait from freezing! (When he heels, he constantly moves his head near my knee to check for a command.) I haven’t ended up on the ground or floor since I got him. He is great company! He is always willing to join me on my ’5 miles/day,’ and since I got him, no one has mistaken my Parkinson’s for being intoxicated!”
- FriendlyTraveler (Parkinson’s disease patient)
Do you have an outstanding service dog too? Share your experiences in the comments section and don’t forget to add “service dog” to your list of lifestyle modifications.