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judges 2011


Entry Category Service Dogs
Charity Partner Power Paws Assistance Dogs
Location Richmond, California


Bella is a beautiful 4 year old black labrador working as Seizure Response Dog for her 11 year old handler, Melodie, who was diagnosed with epilepsy at age 5. After 3 years of ER visits, many medication adjustments, a traumatic and very public emergency seizure at school in 1st grade, and the painful realization that epilepsy does not travel alone, (think ADHD, Anxiety Disorder, Sensory Processing Disorder, Depression and the dreaded Sudden Unexplained Death in Epilepsy..) we decided to get our daughter a Service Dog.
Bella’s contribution to Melodie’s life has gone above and beyond the role she was officially trained for; in her case, alert us to any instability in our daughter’s body chemistry.
She has become our daughter’s friend, her confidant, her constant protection, her reassurance, her bodyguard. Bella’s presence in our daughter’s life has made a dramatic difference in her social interactions, erasing perceived differences and facilitating opportunities for education by prompting the ever-present question “What does the dog do”?. Bella has also significantly decreased Melodie’s anxiety level. In the 2 years Bella has been by our daughter’s side, we have not made a single trip to the hospital because of a seizure. In fact, we have not witnessed a single breakthrough seizure. This, in comparison to dozens and dozens of episodes in the three years prior. We call Bella the Magic Dog, because we are convinced she keeps the seizures at bay. She is an angel on four paws. A true hero!

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