For many of us going for a walk alone seems like a boring idea, for 22 year-old Alicia Robinson, however, this idea means a lot.
Alicia recently received a dog guide with the help of donations from the Carlyle Lions Club and other generous local donors.
“The Lions club raised the money to help me get Elf,” said Alicia. “ We are thankful for that.”
Alicia’s dog, Elf, is training to be able to warn her when she is about to have a seizure, as she currently doesn’t get any time to prepare for one.
“So far she’s still in the early stages of training,” said Alicia’s mom, Jean Robinson.” Eventually she is supposed to help her out when she has a seizure and call for somebody else.”
Seizure response dogs are a specially trained type of service dog. These dogs help their owners who have epilepsy or other seizure disorders.
These dogs are capable of alerting help, either by finding another person or activating a medical alert or pre-programmed phone. They can pull dangerous objects away from their owners body and are specially trained to attempt to rouse their unconscious handler during or after a seizure.
Additionally, some dogs may develop the ability to sense an impending seizure that their owners would otherwise have no warning signs of.
“I can go out for walks now, “ Alicia explains. “ I’m gaining my independence back.”
These dogs must be capable of maintaining control in every possible situation and because of the rarity of these certain traits and the difficulty in training seizure response dogs, only a few organizations provide them, though the number is rising.The Lions Club is one of the impressive few.
“I’m excited and glad to have her, she’s also great company,” Alicia said smiling.
On Sunday, May 29, the Lion’s Club of Redvers will be joining the Lions Club of Maryfield , asking locals to participate in the Purina Walk for Guide Dogs beginning at the Redvers Campground.
According to the Lion’s Foundation of Canada website, the initiative started in 1983 and more than 1,500 guide dogs have been trained and given out to individuals with disabilities since.
The Lion’s Foundation currently trains five different type of dog guides, canine vision dogs, hearing ear guide dogs, special skills dog guides for people with medical of physical disabilities, seizure-response dog guides and autism assistance dog guides.
It costs the Foundation approximately $20,000 to raise any one of these dog guides which are provided to the owners at no cost.
With no government funding, the walk is one of the only ways around the country that the club raises money to train these four-legged heroes.
For more information on the walk contact Freda Hill at (306) 646-5873 or Ellen Skulmoski at (306) 452-8810. Visit www.purinawalkfordogguides.com or www.dogguides.com , for more information about these special dogs and the foundation raising them.