Kayla Aolick and her seizure guide dog Shadow have forged a friendship that goes beyond necessity.

Seizure guide dog brings freedom in Alberni

Shadow, a golden retriever, is trained to get help for Alberni resident Kayla Aolick when she has seizures.

When the seizures started again, Kayla Aolick thought her independence was over.

Aolick, now 20, still suffers from the effects of a brain tumour she had removed when she was 12.

Her seizures became more frequent over the past year. “This summer I had a really bad period with them. I had 43 (seizures) in two weeks,” Aolick said. One of her doctors in Vancouver suggested she apply for a guide dog; the Aolicks had never heard of seizure guides dog before this. Kayla applied for and was accepted into the Lions Foundation of Canada Dog Guides program.

Shadow, a golden retriever, is trained to get help for Kayla when she has a seizure. “If he sees me shaking he can bark for help and someone wil come, or he can go and get somebody for help,” she explained.

“He can grab the phone if I was able to call 9-1-1. He can push those LifeLine buttons.”

This is Kayla’s first experience with a dog, and Shadow has to be with her 24/7. When he is in his harness, he is working. Kayla is required to keep up with Shadow’s training, walk him at least twice a day and ensure he maintains a certain weight.

But the rules are a good tradeoff, both Kayla and her mom agree. “It gives me peace of mind,” says Sheila.

“It’s kind of making things a little bit better. He gives me a lot of independence now,” says Kayla.

“They say dogs are a man’s best friend. He’s always beside me; if I’m having a bad day he’s always there to make me feel better.”

editor@albernivalleynews.com

Twitter.com/alberniNews

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