I want to tell you a little story about me and my furry friend, Barney. For those of you that don't know, I suffer with a neurological illness and now and then I have seizures. They can be fairly small lasting for about 5 minutes, or they can go on for hours. They can be minor, or they can be aggressive and even put me in danger. The exact cause and type of seizure I have is still unknown, but to onlookers, my body looks like it's having an epileptic fit, and my face looks like it is having a stroke. I loose all control.
This particular day I was feeling very unwell as a result of M.E. I was really struggling to move that day. It was early morning around 4am and I needed to use the bathroom. I tried to use the little energy I had to get me there but I was so dizzy and I could hardly see. I needed help. I have an emergency bell which I can use if I need to raise the alarm and call for help, but I couldn't move to grab it. I tried to make enough noise to wake someone up but as I opened my mouth, nothing could come out. I had lost the control to speak - this sometimes happens and to be honest the whole episode is a big blur. So much was going on in my brain like the fact it was busy sending messages to my body to have a seizure. Not cool brain! NOT COOL. So I guess it had bigger priorities than giving me a voice.
Barney, who is my little Jack Russell dog, has never been trained in medical assistance or has even been trained well at all - he doesn't even sit when you tell him to, he's such a dumbo! When I am suffering badly with my illness he doesn't leave my side - you know they say animals can sense it...
As I fell to the ground before making it to the bathroom Barney starting barking loudly. He's not much of a barker, he's normally quite quiet. He was running up and down and making lots of noise trying to wake someone up to come and help me. It worked and he made such a fuss that he woke up the whole house! Thanks to his natural instinct it meant I could be kept warm and be kept safe. My family were there to prevent me from hitting my head on anything, and keep an eye on me until the seizure came to an end naturally.
Once I finally come round, Barney was snuggled so tight next to me, licking me and crying a little. I think this was his way of saying 'I don't like it Hayley, please be OK, I want to make you feel better' (Major aww moment right there!)
I have so much respect for the people that train dogs to assist the disabled. They do such a great job and the dogs are a lifeline to so many. My dog might not be able to bring me the morning post via his mouth, or assist with the laundry, or make me a cup of tea - I wish he could! But his natural instinct to raise the alarm when it's needed is extremely reassuring. Sometimes, animals amaze me.
Do you have any experiences like this with animals? I'd love to hear them if you do - leave them in a comment below :) Have a good week everyone!