During my years in Animal Welfare work - I served as the President of the
American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals - I have heard
wonderful stories about the power of the Human/Animal bond. One of my
favourites is about a girl and her very special dog.
When the girl was born, her parents were stationed with the U.S. Army
overseas. The tiny baby spiked a fever of 106 degrees and when they couldn't
help her at the Military Base, the baby and her family were flown home tot
eh United States where she could receive the proper medical care.
The alarming fever kept recurring, but the bay survivied. When the episode
was over, the child was left with 13 different seizure causes, including
Epilepsy. She had what was called "Multiple Seizure Syndrome" and had
several seizure every day. Sometimes she stopped breathing.
As a result, the little gilr could never be left alone. She grew to be a
teenager and if her mother had to go out, her father or brothers had to
accompany her everywhere, including the bathroom, which was awkward for
everyone involved. But the risk of leaving her alone was too great and so,
for lack of a better solution, things went on this way for years.
The girl and her family lived near a town where there was a Penitentiary for
women. One of the programs there was a Dog-Training Program. The inmates
were taught how to train dogs, to:
1) foster a sense of competence, and
2) as a job skill for the time when they left the prison.
Although most of the women had serious criminal backgrounds, many made
excellent dog trainers, and often trained service dogs for the Handicapped
whilst serving their time.
The girls mother read about this program and contacted the Penitentiary to
see if there was anything they could do for her daughter. They had no idea
how to train a dog to help a person in the girls condition, but her family
decided that a Companion Animal would be good for the girl, as she had
limited socila opportunities and the felt she would enjoy a dogs company.
The girl choose a random-bred dog, named "Queenie" and together with the
womed at the prison, trained her to be an obedient pet.
But Queenie had other plans. She became a "Seizure Alert" dog, letting the
girl know when a seizure was coming on, so that the girl could be ready for
I heard about Queenis amazing abilities and went to visit the girls family
and met Queenie. At one point, during my visit, Queenie became agitated and
took the girls wrist in her mouth and started pulling her towards the living
room couch. Her mother said, "Go on now. Listen to what Queenie's telling
The girl went to the couch, and curled up in a foetal position, facing the
back of the couch, and within moments started to "seize". The dog jumped on
the couch and wedged herself between the back of the couch and the front of
the girls body, placing her ear in front of the girls mouth. Her family was
used to this performance, but I watched in open-mouthed astonishment as the
girl finished "seizing" and Queenie relaxed with her on the couch, wagging
her tail and looking for all the world like an ordinary dog playing with her
Then the girl and her dog went into the girls bedroom as her parents and I
went into the kitchen for coffee. A little while later, Queenie came
barreling down the hallway, barking. She did a U-turn in the kitchen and
then went racing back to the girls room.
"She's having a seizure", the mother told me. The girls father got up, in
what seemed to me, a casual manner for someone whose daughter often stopped
breathing, and walked back to the bedroom after Queenie.
My concern must have been evident on my face, because the girls mother
smiled and said, "I know what you're thinking, but you see, that's not the
bark Queenie uses when my daughter stops breathing."
I shook my head in amazement. Queenie, the self-taught angel, proved to me
once again how utterly foolish it is to suppose that animals DON'T THINK or
Chicken Soup for the Dog & Cat Lovers Soul. by Jack Canfield,
Hansen, Marty Becker, D.V.M. and Carol Kline.