A. Charlie is "soooo cute"
B. People have a million questions about what he does
C. I am being interrogated that Charlie can not enter a place of business
D. People think I am faking it
I figure that someone out there obviously is interested in this little guy and our story, so I have decided 'what the hey' maybe I will write about us and someone out there will read about our adventures and smile, cry, laugh, or become informed.
Here is the short and skinny about Charlie Pants and me.
Me. Name, Leah Stone. Wife. Dog Lover. Grad Student. 28 years old. No Kids, 2 dogs Jack and Charlie. Entrepreneur. Musician. Artist. Lover of beautiful things like interior design, outdoors, music, art, a good book, anything vintage and old, and animals. I started having seizures at 24 years of age.
Charlie. Full name Charlie Pants. 5 years old. Trained Seizure Alert Service Dog. 15 pounds and slightly pudgy. Protector of all things around Leah. Big brother to "little brother" Jack, a 90 pound doberman. Smart. World Traveler. Lover of stuffed animals, stealing human food, barking at people outside, dog treats, and clicker training. Dead on of alerting me of a seizure about 5-10 minutes before it happens. Holder of the name to my music business Charlie Pants Music www.charliepantsmusic.com
People always ask me, "How does Charlie know that is seizure is coming?"
I usually reply by saying that how dogs detect an oncoming seizure in a human is a mystery. Some trainers and researchers think they detect subtle changes in human behavior or scent before an episode occurs. There is no scientific studies, however, to prove these theories. Trainers also believe the behavior is not breed, age or gender specific in dogs. Charlie was just born with this remarkable ability, as are other seizure alert dogs. This sets them apart from other types of service animals.
The next question I usually get is "Well how do you know he is telling you?"
Charlie, as well as other seizure alert dogs, exhibit attention-getting behaviors such as whining, pawing, licking, or anxious barking. Charlie's behavior is to lick my face very erratically and if he can't get to my face he whines and acts crazy until he gets my attention. Once he gets my attention, he locks eyes with me and wont stop until I lie down. Once I lie down, Charlie lays next to me. My husband says that when I am seizing Charlie tries to lick my mouth and nose and we have heard from trainers that this is his way of making sure I am still breathing.
How did he learn how to do this?
Well it is natural, but his alerting behavior was and is rewarded with food usually by someone other that me cause I am having a seizure. Charlie is trained to stay with me during a seizure or to press a button on the phone that dials 911.
This is a study that shows you just how special a dog like Charlie is.
A study in 1998 involved questionnaires completed by 29 dog owners who had seizures at least once a month. Of the 29 subjects, nine reported that their dog responded to a seizure. These dogs remained close to their human companions either standing or lying alongside them, sometimes licking the person's face or hands during and immediately after the seizure. Of the nine dogs reported to respond, three were said to also alert their owners to an impending seizure about three minutes in advance.
So there it is. What Charlie does, how he does it, and why he is so special. Charlie wasn't always a service dog. He started out as a family dog. He was actually a year and a half when he started his training, but because he was already alerting me of my seizures he was able to get certified as a service dog as long as he could become obedient in public.
All I know is that Charlie is the most amazing dog in the world. Thanks to him I have my freedom back and am not afraid to go anywhere because I know he will take care of me.
We would love your comments on this blog so we know someone is listening.
leah and charlie pants
Jo, Me and Charlie in Chicago
Charlie and Me at Fountain Head Lake