Sarah Ford | April 9, 2015

Canine Partners for Life Celebrates 25 Years of Changing Lives

Newark, Del. resident Sarah Vible was diagnosed with epilepsy during her sophomore year at the University of Delaware. Her family reached out to Canine Partners for Life and she was paired with Rosebud, a friendly four-legged companion that alerts her when she is about to have a seizure. Mike Stracka, also a Newark resident, relies on his dog, Annabelle, for many tasks that he can’t do on his own. In Georgia, a service dog named Rollo helps Danielle, a high school senior, walk on her own further than she has in years, and warns her of impending cataplexy episodes. Derrick, who lives in Illinois, relies on Patrick to alert him when he is about to suffer from a seizure. Hannah, who has Muscular Dystophy, relies on Saffron to help her get around the West Chester University campus as she works to complete her degree.

For people like Sarah and Mike and Danielle and Derrick and Hannah, the dogs are more than constant companions. They are heroes. Sometimes, they save lives. They always make lives better.

Vible was caught in a vicious cycle after she was diagnosed with epilepsy last year. One of the triggers for seizures is stress. The more seizures she had, the more stress she felt. The more stress she felt, the more seizures she had.

I tried to take medicine to control the seizures,” Vible explained. “The medicine helps, but it doesn’t do everything.”

Her family learned about Canine Partners for Life and how the Cochranville, Pa. organization trains dogs to alert people who are about to suffer a seizure.

At first, Vible wasn’t sure that she wanted to have an alert dog with her all the time.

It makes my invisible disability very visible,” Vible explained. “I wasn’t sure about that.”

Any doubts vanished when she met Rosebud for the first time. 

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