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Page last updated at 16:32 GMT, Friday, 5 February 2010
Dog helps severe epileptic live life to full

Dog detecting epileptic seizures

Golden retriever, Ajay, helps Tony Brown-Griffin live with severe epilepsy.

At 24 years old Tony was housebound with her condition. She could have up to 12 major, and 40 minor, seizures a week.

Tony's husband, Dan, was planning to give up work to care for her full time, but then they found out about a charity called Support Dogs.

Tony can now live a full life with the help of Ajay, the golden retriever.

Tony was being regularly hospitalized, resulting in stays in intensive care and she sustained many injuries and broken bones during falls in seizures. "Being only 24, housebound and useless was hard to take, and then my company decided that it was in my best interest to medically retire me and in the space of 18 months I very much felt that my life was over." she says.

Tony and Ajay
Ajay detects Tony's seizures before they happen

British Epilepsy Association informed Tony and her husband of Support Dogs, a charity which trains dogs to assists people with disabilities, epilepsy and autism.

A border collie called Rupert became Tony's first seizure alert dog. Through training, the dog learns to pick minute physiological changes in Tony's behaviour ahead of her having a seizure. Through training the seizure becomes a reward for the dog.

Following exhaustive training, which taught him to alert Tony of an impending seizure, life changed immediately for Tony.

"The difference Rupert made to our lives was enormous, I was able to reduce some of my medications, my visits to hospital were much fewer and my injuries almost ceased as I was no longer falling due to the advanced alerts from my four legged guardian!" says Tony.

Tony now has a golden retriever called Ajay. Tony says Ajay warns her with a "nudge at my left hand...for a major seizure he'll lick my left hand obsessively, for a minor seizure he licks me three time and he paws me."

Tony is registered blind and Ajay is the first dog to have been trained as a guide dog for the blind as well as a seizure alert dog.

Tony is now a Director of the Charity Support Dogs.


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