Twelve years ago, I met Kramer and my life was forever changed. Prior to that I was living in a bubble, over-protected by my family and insecure about venturing into the community on my own. My seizures occurred on a daily basis and I found myself limited in what I was able or willing to attempt on my own.
Kramer was trained to lick my hand to bring me out of seizures more quickly, and lead me to a seat or brace so I could lower myself safely to the ground if I became unsteady in a seizure. He was also trained to lead me home if I became disoriented after a seizure while out walking in the community and to ensure I was safe when crossing streets amongst other things.
Seven years ago, Kira came into my life and assumed the duties Kramer once had.
The assistance of my service dogs has given me a sense of confidence and security that I had never known before. Ten years ago, I graduated from George Brown College with Kramer by my side. I am able to travel on my own and two years ago I moved into my own apartment in Newmarket, something I would not have felt safe doing before my service dogs became a part of my life.
If you have frequent generalized impaired awareness seizures (formerly known as tonic clonic or grand mal seizures), you can apply to Dog Guides of Canada for a seizure-response dog. This organization is sponsored by the Lions Foundation, and if your application is accepted, this dog is provided free. There is a wait list and you will need to have your doctor fill out part of the application.
In my case, I do not qualify for the Dog Guide program as my needs are too complex and I do not have the frequency of generalized seizures the program requires. In addition, I have impaired vision and my most common type of seizure presents as temporary blindness. Kira also assists as a mobility dog when my rheumatoid arthritis and autoimmune conditions make walking difficult.
In Ontario, the legal requirement for having a service dog is that you need a doctor’s note stating the fact that you require a service dog to help with your medical needs or disabilities. No other certification is currently required in Ontario.
You may train the dog yourself or find a private facility to do the training for you. The dog must be trained to do specific tasks to help you with your medical needs and disabilities. Emotional support dogs are not recognized in Canada.
Service dogs are legally allowed public access to most public places with some exceptions such as where food is being prepared and sterile environments.
If you are interested in knowing more about my service dogs (past, present and future) and how they help me, you are welcome to follow me on Facebook or on my blog, Cable's Calling: Born to be a Service Dog.
Click here for an update on Amanda & Cable's journey.
As stated in Amanda’s story she is not eligible for the Dog Guide program and must pay for her service dog training herself. Her current service dog Kira will be eight soon and heading towards retirement in a few years. To prepare for this, at the end of this summer Amanda will be meeting her new puppy Cable. Before Cable becomes her new service dog though, Cable must go through a training program that is very costly.
If want to help make sure that that Amanda never has to walk alone click on the button below to donate to her GoFundMe campaign.