Local News

Dog Warns Owner Of Epileptic Seizures

Posted October 27, 2006 8:54 a.m. EDT

— A dog rescued four years ago by a Cumberland County woman now routinely rescues her.

When Jill Snow adopted Charlie, a stray German shepherd-Labrador retriever mix, she was enduring clusters of epileptic seizures. Charlie usually noticed and tried to warn her and other people, she said.

"We started putting together that his behavior was related to my seizures and that he was actually warning me," Snow said. "He can let me know up to a half-hour beforehand that I'm going to have a seizure."

Without any training, Charlie has saved Snow many times.

"I had a seizure one time upstairs in the bathroom where I cracked my head open," she said. "I was able to get to the phone and call 911, but Charlie was the one who came down and let the paramedics in the house."

The dog can chew on a doorknob until he can turn it enough for the door to open, she said.

Once, when Snow collapsed in the front yard, Charlie went door to door until he found some neighbors to help her.

Veterinarians say many dogs sense changes in human behavior, but only two in 1,000 react to them.

"We saved him, and now he saves me," Snow said. "I have my independence, I have my life because of Charlie."