If you remember, I helped with a GoFundMe campaign for a Chronic Migraine sufferer, Hannah, to receive a service dog. (see here) Hannah is 17 years old. She has been plagued with migraines which have had serious side effects and consequences on her life. Last year she was homebound schooled due to the severity of her migraines. Because of this, Hannah and her mom searched out a dog training program that specializes in scent training. It is very rare to find a place that can train a migraine dog and Pawsabilities Unleashed was a Godsend to their family.
Hannah has had Piper for 8 months now. As most dogs do, Piper has become part of the family. But this dog is so much more! Piper alerts Hannah of a spike in migraine and gets her to a safe place. As I do, Hannah lives at about a 5 (pain level) at all times and Piper alerts her if it will spike.
She is trained to smell the chemistry change in Hannah before Hannah feels the migraine spiking which allows her time to take her medication. Because of Piper, Hannah is now able to go to school for part of the week. She was able to go to Homecoming with her boyfriend (and Piper) and participate in more than she had previously.
Piper has been a lifesaver to Hannah and provided her so much support. During one of Hannah’s episodes, she fell in the bathroom. Hannah’s mom received a phone call from Hannah that was unrecognizable and jumbled. When Hannah fell, Piper was able to retrieve the phone (although she was not formally trained to do so) because Hannah was unable to get up. After Hannah’s mom rushed home, she found Hannah laying on the floor with Piper standing by her side. Piper had been dropping a stuffed animal on Hannah’s face to keep her conscious. This is only one example of how important Piper has been to Hannah and her family.
Hannah now has been granted a wish from Make a Wish! Her condition is progressive and debilitating which qualified her for a wish. It was a long process of meetings with her doctors and back and forth between Make a Wish. Hannah’s wish needed to not only accommodate Hannah’s medical needs but also be cognizant of Piper’s needs. The family will embark on a cruise in January!
Hannah’s story can teach so many lessons. The fact that a service dog can be trained to smell an oncoming migraine is absolutely astonishing and encouraging to me. As you all know, I am a huge dog lover and understand the power of a pet. (see my dog story) I hope that this inspires parents to search out more options for their children who suffer and to advocate in every way possible. Receiving a Wish or a service dog are options that I didn’t know existed for migraine sufferers. I hope that by sharing Hannah’s story so many can learn and be inspired to find more answers or be lead down another path.