Dog with a 'sixth sense' to be honoured
on 18/10/2013 00:00:00
The club will present Charlie with a national merit award at a ceremony in the National Show Centre.
The unique bond between the dog and Brianna Lynch, which enables him to detect her frequent seizures from epilepsy up to 20 minutes before the start of each episode was illustrated in the Irish Examiner last week as part of a fundraising bid.
Brianna's mum, Arabella, says she is "overwhelmed" with all the support and good wishes generated as a result of her campaign to buy an ambulatory EEG machine.
Having joined forces with Deirdre Cullinan from Ahane, whose daughter, Mia, 3, is also being treated for epilepsy, they have now raised more than €15,000 - just €3,000 short of the €18,000 needed to purchase the ambulatory EEG machine, which has been sanctioned by University Hospital Limerick.
Arabella continues to receive donations from people she doesn't know and was particularly touched by the generosity of an elderly Oranmore woman who sent two old £10 notes. "It melted me. I thought how kind for this woman to give me part of her pension."
Brianna had another epileptic fit on Tuesday and it put the whole need for an EEG machine back into perspective again, said Arabella.
"She just buckled over, went completely stiff, and started convulsing, and her eyes were rolling in her head. It lasted for about five minutes. It was awful. It is really terrifying when it happens."
Brianna has seizures where she bends forward, goes completely stiff, is buckled in two, and can't be moved. Without any warning, she can be also thrown backwards like she has been given a jolt of an electric shock and can smack her head on the floor. During her tonic-clonic seizures she goes into full convulsions and unconsciousness.
"When Charlie senses a seizure is about to happen, he gets very giddy and starts to go around Brianna in a circle to alert her that there is something going on," said Arabella.
"Charlie looks at me as if to say 'mom what will I do, I need help'. I know that is what he is trying to say. It might sound stupid but I know by the look of him. Then Charlie stands beside Brianna to protect her. The other dogs know that Brianna is different, but it frightens them so they run off."
The older Great Dane, Nelson (12); a part wolf shepherd, Shiloh; and Boston terrier Milo, do a "runner" any time Brianna is having a seizure.
"In hindsight, the minute we brought Brianna home from the hospital, they scarpered. We just thought it was because it was a new baby, but they haven't done that with any of the other children," said Arabella.
The family think this was related to the fact Charlie was a pup and of a similar age to Brianna when he arrived.