Adopted Dog Gives Lifesaving Support to Veteran
Ollie helps Ken sniff out seizures before they start.
Ken + Ollie
Ken, an Army Veteran, suffers from seizures. Thanks to Ollie, his adopted Labrador, Ken can remain active and live independently.
"Ollie’s with me every day. Ollie knows hours before I do that I’m even close to having a seizure."
I’m an Army Veteran who was involved in an accident that resulted in a brain injury. Now, I suffer regular “breakout” seizures. I manage them with medicine, but they’ll never be fully under control.
I had just lost my first seizure alert dog, a dog that had been trained just for that purpose, and I was heartbroken. Even though I never thought a shelter dog could be trained in the same way, at the suggestion of a friend, I visited Columbus Humane to see if there were any Labs available for adoption.
When I first walked in, I was in tears. I missed my dog Sammie so much. Columbus Humane only had one Lab in the back, who was still going through evaluations before he was ready to be adopted. When Ollie came out, he came right over to me and just looked up at me. I knew he was the one.
Ollie had a lot of energy and was quite the player, so I was a little skeptical at first that Ollie could be trained to help me. Imagine my surprise when that very first day Ollie came home with me, he started alerting me to a seizure! I couldn’t believe it!
Ollie had the instincts to help me, but I knew Ollie needed more training to help focus some of his energy. Ollie and I went to Colorado for a 10-day seizure alert training program. Ollie did great! Together with the trainers, we helped Ollie focus on the tasks at hand.
Now, Ollie’s with me every day. Ollie knows hours before I do that I’m even close to having a seizure. When he alerts, he gets on me and starts yelping. We could be walking along or playing and all of a sudden he’s letting me know there’s a seizure coming. I’m able to take medicine to prevent the seizure.
My daughter takes care of him, but without Ollie, I know the burden would be much greater. I’m so grateful for him. He allows me to be independent and he has helped me to enjoy my life and so many things that would be impossible without him.
One of Ollie and my favorite things to do is to go camping together. I have a camper and with Ollie, we can go anywhere, even to remote areas where there’s not even electricity. I’d never be able to do that without him. I wouldn’t even be able to drive if it wasn’t for Ollie. Mobility-wise, I’d be lost without him.
Ollie keeps me active and independent. I tell him 100 times a day how much we need each other. I think he knows. I can’t imagine life without my Ollie Boy.
Each year, the Petco Foundation invites adopters to share the story of how their adopted pet changed their lives during the annual Holiday Wishes campaign, giving the organization that they adopted from a chance to receive a grant award. This story by Ken won Columbus Humane in Hilliard, Ohio a 2019 Holiday Wishes award.