DANCING WITH THE CANINE STARS

Neurology Now
May/June 2006
Volume 2(3)
p 9
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Carly, the golden retriever pictured here taking “Dancing with the Stars” winner John O'Hurley for a whirl, gives new meaning to the phrase Man's Best Friend. Especially if that friend happens to suffer from seizures.

Carly, a seizure-response dog specially trained to partner with epilepsy patients, filled O'Hurley's dance card at the Epilepsy Foundation's recent gala in New York City. O'Hurley, whose sister died from a seizure after she stopped taking her epilepsy medication, was on hand to present the foundation's Distinguished Achievement Award to UCB Pharma Inc. for its innovative programs to help epilepsy patients and their caregivers. Not the least of those programs is Canine Assistants Partnership.

Canines that provide assistance shouldn't be confused with dogs that predict oncoming seizures. Dogs that can supposedly predict seizures will, for example, lick the palm of a person to warn him or her of an oncoming seizure. In contrast, canine assistants are response dogs that perform such services as retrieving a phone prior to a seizure, summoning help in a controlled environment and staying with the patient during a seizure Thus do canine assistants instill confidence by enabling people living with epilepsy to return to normal daily activities they may have been reluctant to do.

Just like the best of friends.

Figure. WHO'S LEADING? O'Hurley plays the sidekick.

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