By Christian Cotroneo
"You could say being a seizure detection dog has its moments. Like this one.
And this one.
That's Jerry Springer, a certified seizure dog, you know... working.
His boss is a 3-year-old girl named Keanna who lives with intractable epilepsy. Jerry's mission? Cuddle the bejesus out of her.
And then - this is the part where Jerry truly shines - about half an hour before Keanna is going to have a seizure, Jerry alerts the rest of the family. He just knows.
And he's always right. Keanna's family gets time to prepare for the attack, giving the girl medication that can even prevent the seizure from happening. It's a crucial alert that has saved the girl's life on countless occasions.
"When Keanna is having issues with her seizures or not feeling good, Jerry is stuck to her like glue," George Leonard, a master dog trainer with MSAR Service Dogs in Winnipeg, Canada, tells The Dodo.
It's good work if you can get it. Especially, when you literally worked your way up from the streets.
Before he landed the job, Jerry was hauled into a shelter by animal control as a stray.
That's where a dog trainer from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) found him.
He sent a message to Leonard: "I have found a dog that will be amazing. I am sending him to you. You will do great things with him, believe me."
At MSAR, Jerry's naturally friendly disposition and keen mind made him the perfect candidate for training to become someone's
cuddle buddy lifesaving seizure dog.
Someone like Keanna.
Her condition means every seizure she has takes a physical toll on her brain. Leonard says if the attacks were not significantly reduced by the time she turned 3, Keanna would need surgery.
But then, a year ago, Keanna met Jerry Springer.
After just two days in the family home, Jerry would let Keanna's mother know of an impending attack. At first, it was just a warning of a few minutes. Then 10 minutes. And, finally, half an hour.
And soon, the dog who once needed rescuing so badly was rescuing his little girl every day.
Before Jerry moved into her life, Keanna was having 25 to 40 seizures per month. Now she's down to just one.
"Jerry is a very special, one-of-a-kind dog," Leonard says. "The dog that no one wanted has found a place in the hearts of our organization and has changed and saved this little girl's life."
Even Keanna's mother stopped sleeping in the girl's bed, watching over her throughout the night.
Jerry was more than happy to take her spot."
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