Samantha ‘Sam’ Bode, a 4-year-old who recently started school at Dobson Elementary School as a pre-k student came along to school with a friend: She began school with Moose, a labradoodle seizure alert dog, by her side.
Since birth Sam has suffered from epilepsy and cerebral palsy. Stephanie Bode, Sam’s mother and media specialist at the school, explained how she has shared her bed with Sam since she was about a year old, after discovering her daughter’s epilepsy drastically increased while she slept.
“Every second she sleeps she has a spike in her seizure activity.” Seizures pose a greater risk for asphyxiation, or choking, when the victim is sleeping.
Stephanie, Sam’s mother, started searching for a seizure dog in spring of 2014 after her daughter had a four-hour seizure followed by a two-hour seizure a few days later.
“We started looking and the range for a service dog was anywhere from $10,000 to $20,000,” an amount the Bode family didn’t have set aside.
So, Sam’s mother decided to set up a GoFundMe account for her daughter. Within a week of the account being active, $12,000 had been raised for Sam to get her service dog.
Stephanie began her search for an organization who could meet the needs of their family.
After several months, she found an organization that would be in their price range and train the dog to meet the needs of Sam. Highland Canine/Autism Assistance Dogs, a organization she had found after meeting an autistic boy named Gus, who had acquired a dog through this organization.
Over the summer Sam, her family and the trainers assigned to Moose have worked and prepared him to alert Sam and her caregivers of a seizure and to retrieve medication for Sam.
On Friday officials at Dobson Elementary held an assembly for the students to introduce Sam and Moose. During the assembly, Sam, her mother Stephanie, and Moose’s trainer all explained what Moose’s job was, the importance of his job and how interacting with him when he was working could affect his job performance.
Moose has gone through lots of training situations with kids, according to Stephanie.
Trainers will be back with Sam to start school, and work with everyone who will be interacting with Sam and Moose throughout their day.
Reach Eva Queen at (336) 415-4739 or firstname.lastname@example.org