Life Saving Pets

As promised in my last blog, pets can have an amazing impact on our lives as they constantly provide us with love and comfort.

But when people are seriously unwell, there are some dogs that can literally save their owners lives. These dogs come in the form of medical alert dogs.

Medical alert dogs can help with a wide range of medical conditions from seizures, heart conditions, diabetes and even allergies.

How do medical alert dogs actually help people?

With regards to heart conditions, diabetes and allergies, medical alert dogs are acutely aware of the minute odour changes in humans that can be due to blood sugar levels or hormone related changes. This will allow the dog to alert its owner of an imminent medical problem and can help fetch medical supplies.

Medical alert dogs are also available for people with severe allergies and they detect the minute air-borne allergens rather than sensing changes from the person.

What about medical alert dogs for Epilepsy?

You can also have medical alert dogs for seizures and epilepsy. As with the above mentioned conditions, you normally have a medical alert dog if your epilepsy has been difficult to manage with medication.

There has been some debate that dogs cannot detect a seizure before it happens in the regards that they cannot smell changes in a person before it happens. This is a topic which is still being debated and studied. If you have the type of seizures that develop from simple partial to generalised, or you maybe have a lot of auras, dogs will pick up on this and should be able to alert for help or get you to safety.

What we do know for sure about medical alert dogs in epilepsy is that during seizures, they can call for help and attention, fetch medical supplies if necessary, and if you have an implanted medical device (VNS) for seizures  they can activate it for you, which is all pretty impressive.

Pets as Therapy in Hospitals

A few months ago, I was looking for some voluntary work to do, and came across Pets as Therapy. I think it is a brilliant concept where you take your pets into hospitals and just have a chat with people and brighten their day. I would have loved to have been a part of it, but my cat can’t handle travelling 1 mile to the vets let alone miles around in my car visiting people in hospital!

Can you imagine being in hospital, whether you were in the ward or in A+E and someone was walking around with a cute dog or cat and asked if I wanted a chat? It would have certainly brightened my day.

Over recent years I have come across countless stories where owners have been in hospital and have been missing their pets, and when the hospital has allowed their pets to visit them they have made an amazing recovery.

For example, I saw this story which went viral last month, again it proves the healing power of pets. It’s about a 95-year-old lady with Alzheimer’s and her family introduced her to a dachshund dog who now visits her fortnightly. When she spends time with the dog she becomes a different, more carefree person. (You can read the story here)

I think more and more people are realising the amazing potential that our pets and dogs have. We don’t only have rescue dogs and police dogs that keep can help keep us safe and rescue people, but we have medical dogs that save people’s lives every single day. Scientists are even looking into dogs that can detect early cancer cells purely through their astonishing sense of smell.

Even if our pets are not saving our lives medically they might be saving our lives simply by just by being in our lives. It’s proven that they have an incredible ability to heal us when we are feeling low and I am glad that hospitals are noticing the benefits and bonding qualities animals can bring. Many times I have been in hospital even to visit someone else and saw another patient with no visitors, and I am confident that schemes such as Pets as Therapy will help give people in these types of situations a better experience in hospital and make them feel less anxious and lonely.

I would love to know you thoughts on this subject.

Perhaps you have a medical alter dog or have had your life saved by your pet?

Let us know in the comments below!

Thanks for reading!

Becky

 

Information for this article was sourced from:

medicaldetectiondogs.org

epilepsy.com

epilepsy.com

petsastherapy.org

buzzfeed.com

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Pets and Their Impact

Do you think that having pets alters us?

I think that nearly all of us have had a pet at some point of our lives. Do you think that having pets alters us or changes us in any way?

For children I believe that having a pet teaches them a great amount about caring and looking after another living creature. As I am getting older I am developing a greater appreciation of the love, companionship and great memories that animals give us everyday.

While growing up, I had many different pets. Fish, rabbits, hamsters etc. But I always wanted a cat. I don’t know why I just did. I loved visiting family members who had cats and I just wanted one of my own. But I never got one 😦 . I can remember one birthday I very kindly asked for a kitten, and in the morning I ran downstairs full of excitement, hoping that I’d finally have my cat, and in the middle of the livingroom floor among all my other presents was…a cuddly toy one.

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The Birthday Present 😦

But, years later… Guess what, a miracle happened and I finally got a cat. I now fully understand the phrase that, ‘good things come to those who wait’ as he really is the perfect cat for me.

I can remember the day we bought him. I had been through every newspaper etc. looking for kittens. This was in January, and by all account this isn’t the right time for kittens. Finally in February I saw the first ad for kittens and raced there. We went to this house which was teaming with little cats. I was shown our kitten and I was told he liked cuddles, which meant he was sold!

He’s never left my side since, he’s even sleeping by my feet while I’m typing these words.

What impact has my pet made on my life?

If you have a pet you have another family member. When you consciously sit and think about all the memories you share with them, how often they make everyone smile and how much you love them. You realise how important they are and how irreplaceable they are.

When I think about my cat, he is certainly part of our family and I think about the years of happy memories and love he has brought us. He certainly changed our lives from that first moment we brought him home and he got stuck under the kitchen units.

When I catch the bus outside my house, my cat waits for the bus with me. He also hears the sound of my car when I arrive home, appearing from nowhere and crying at me from behind the garden wall.

He’s also the only cat I’ve seen ‘crossing the road’ in the sense that he looks both ways and then runs like mad across the street only when its clear. I didn’t teach him this, but if anyone asks. I did.

Am I a different person because of my pet?

Even though I have naturally learnt more about pets since having a cat, I feel a little bit more of a caring, cuddly person that I did before I had my cat. But I think that’s just who I am, and I would like to think that I would be the same person even if I didn’t have my cat. But I have noticed that since I have had him, I am definitely more connected with the neighbours. My cat is not just loved my me, he is also adored by many grannies who also live on my street. If he’s not around  I know he’s being spoiled by someone, and I am always bumping into neighbours who tell me about the funny things he gets up to. My own Grandma is one of them, (by the way she never wanted me to have a cat), and now I frequently find him over her house, curled up on his very own chair.  When you consider that many women on my street are elderly widows who could potentially be suffering from loneliness, just having the cat to visit them and then seeing me afterwards will brighten their days.

I love the fact that one cat can bring so much love, joy and companionship to so many people.

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My Cat, keeping cool

 

Has my pet had an impact on my health?

From the perspective of my health, I would say that having a cat has greatly helped with my health. I am confident that my seizures can be triggered by stress, I’m not suggesting that cats are seizure cures but simply petting them can relax you and help lower blood pressure. ( by the way not all cats are chilled out or like being petted!). As I mentioned earlier my cat loves relaxing and having hugs from everyone, and after a busy, stressful day it’s really nice to come home to. This is obvious, but cats would make rubbish as seizure alerts. Once I was being taken to hospital and my cat was just sleeping in his basket! 🙂

So after many years of waiting I finally had my cat. I have been amazed by how he can cheer so many people up without doing hardly anything. He follows me everywhere even down the street. I have felt more love and compassion from my cat than I have from many people I have known.

I was hesitant to write this blog as I was afraid of appearing as a crazy cat lady, but I wanted to highlight that animals can have a profound impact on our lives and who we are.

Some pets save people’s lives, and I hope to discuss this topic in more detail in my next blog when I discuss medical alert dogs and pets in therapy.

What impact have your pets made on your life? Feel free to comment below!

 

Thanks for reading!

Becky 🙂

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