Service dogs are crucial to many people’s lives, but sadly, not all families can afford them. A family from Southgate, Michigan is facing this problem after their daughter was born with a rare form of epilepsy.
19-month-old Emery Nisbett has the genetic mutation EEF1A2, which makes her have regular epileptic seizures. She also has learning disabilities and developmental delays because of it. Her seizures began when she was only six months old, and she would often have them 100 times a day. Her parents believe a service dog could change her life, but they need all the help they can get to afford one.
A Rare Form of Epilepsy
When Emery first started having seizures, her parents we terrified. Her mom, Alana Nisbett, explained that the girl would fall on the floor or hit her head on the table every time it occurred. She experienced between 60 and 100 seizures a day that lasted for a few seconds each.
“In the very beginning, she would lose all control of muscles, and drop,” said Alana. “So, if she was standing on you, or holding onto something, she would just completely drop to the ground for a couple of seconds.”
Once Emery was hospitalized and diagnosed, she started a medical low-carb diet, which decreased the severity of the seizures. During a seizure, she would bring her hand to her mouth instead of dropping to the floor. Then, when she started taking seizure medication, the number of daily seizures appeared to decrease too.
However, even though Emery’s parents can’t see as many spasms, the seizures could still mutate, making them look different than before. The couple ordered an EEG monitor to help them track Emery’s seizures and see what types she’s having. Yet, they believe a service dog would be even more beneficial for the little girl.
Help Emery’s Dreams Come True!
4 Paws for Ability trains service dogs to detect a person’s seizures before they occur. They can sense the chemical changes in their handler’s body, and then comfort them and alert others. A service dog might be able to help Emery in other ways since the seizures have slowed her development. Emery is non-verbal and hasn’t learned to crawl or walk.
“They can learn beforehand, and comfort during, which is huge,” Alana said. “The dog would be able to provide mobility, and as she grows, the dog would be able to help stabilize her with walking, and also support her in her therapy.”
However, service dogs can cost between $40,000 and $60,000. Families need to have at least $17,000 just to be placed on the waitlist, which is currently two and a half years long. So, Alana and her husband Jason have created a Facebook fundraiser to help get a service dog for Emery.
As of November 24th, the family has raised $11,500 toward a service dog. If you want to help give Emery a better life, consider donating to their fundraiser. Not only will the dog help detect her seizures, but it will also help her get around and be able to comfort her as needed. A service dog will change this young girl’s life in so many beautiful ways!