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Seizure Service Dogs: NSDF Canine Heroes

Seizure Service Dogs: NSDF Canine Heroes

 Canine Heroes of National Seizure Disorders Foundation

Seizure Service Dogs

Meet Anja, a trained seizure service dog actively assisting Michael VonErich ,National Seizure Disorders Foundation member and seizure survivor. Anja is a 6 year old German Shepard. She was not initially trained to be a service dog but her trainer thought she could be. Michael and Anja met in July 2010. After 2 weeks Michael put a vest, complete with training patches, on Anja and they started working together. Within about a month they had bonded. Anja started showing signs when she felt things were not right with Michael. Now, she starts barking, batting at Michael’s legs and crying when she detects seizure sensitivity in Michael . “I’ve learned to listen to her. When she acts like this I stop, sit down and wait. She has never been wrong. Sometimes it’s a gran mal and sometimes it’s just me needing to rest.” Michael shared during conversation with National Seizure Disorders Foundation CEO, Tonya Heathco.

In closing Michael said the purpose for honoring Anja today was  hope that the information will educate others and encourage many to give to NSDF Doggy Dollars Campaign so that people,like Michael,living with seizures can know Freedom and Peace of a higher quality of life. Anja is honored today and everyday by National Seizure Disorders Foundation and NSDF Community as a true canine hero.

Help Canine Heroes continue to serve with your donations today to

NSDF Doggy Dollar Campaign:

Meet Bootsy, a mixed Shepard/Beagle. A rescued dog turned hero for Richard Goodman, National Seizure Disorders Foundation member and seizure survivor. Richard shares a memory with NSDF today:  “One time long ago, I had a seizure in the kitchen and Bootsy saved my life. Bootsy came over to me barked , brought every one of his toy over to me in attempt to comfort me, then he went to my dad tugged on his sleeve,and brought him to the kitchen where I was actively seizing. Bootsy barked and growled knowing something was happening in my body that was beyond normal. Bootsy was so protective he had to be pulled off so my dad could help me. Without Bootsy constantly by my side, my dad would have not known of the seizure and I would not have recovered. “

Richard volunteers his time to help other animals in tribute to his long time friend and hero Bootsy after Bootsy’s passing of old age not long ago. Bootsy is sorely missed daily by Richard and honored today and everyday by National Seizure Disorders Foundation and the NSDF Community as a true canine hero of NSDF.

One of the first canine heroes introduced to National Seizure Disorders Foundation was Cole, seizure service dog to National Seizure Disorders Foundation member Jeff Conn. Read their story HERE.

Help Our Canine Heroes today by donating to

NSDF Doggy Dollar Campaign

What is Doggy Dollars Campaign?A campaign with a dual purpose; raising funds to place trained seizure service dogs with qualified seizure survivors and raising awareness.

NSDF Doggy Dollars Campaign is brought to you today to give you the opportunity to give $1 or more in order to increase the quality of life of a seizure survivor through the service of a seizure service dog. For more about Doggy Dollars and Seizure Service dogs, please visit the links below:

Do you prefer to donate using an alternative method? We accept checks, money orders and direct deposits. For direct deposit information please message: Tonya Heathco  To donate using check or money order through the postal service, make check out to:

National Seizure Disorders Foundation

c/o Tonya Heathco

228 College Street 

Burns TN 37029

Are you familiar with a seizure service dog and would like to honor the canine hero by sharing a bit about the canine hero? Please submit a paragraph or two telling our readers about this canine hero. Please include your full name, contact information, and your status( seizure survivor,caregiver, professional, unaffected) with a good picture of the hero to Our team will review your information for publication to National Seizure Disorders Foundation website.

Founder NSDF


17 Responses to Seizure Service Dogs: NSDF Canine Heroes

  1. Hello. My twenty year old son is a junior T Southern Methodist University. Over the past 6 months he has experienced epilepsy type seizures which he is being treated for. He is an ex athlete in N. American hockey and football so we are trying with the specialists the cause. Anyway my wife had an interesting idea about a service dog. Any suggestions? We have had and continue to be blessed by adopting rescue dogs. He has grown up with multiple four legged friends his whole life and loves them. Any suggestions? Thank you for your help.

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  3. My wife has grandmall seizures. I am very interested in the possibility of attaining a service dog. She has had these seizures for 30 years. We have a young son that she takes care of while I am at work. She has had many of these seizures while I am away at work. We have home health care that comes to the house 3 times a week but, it would be nice and bring a little peace of mind to have a service dog to alert her when she is about to have one. Right now she has no warning signs of them coming on. If our family could attain a dog, I think it would be a blessing.

  4. I have a question for you please — a friend has a 10yr old boy with autism, as well as epilepsy. He needs a service dog desparately. He is currently in Children’s Medical Center, in Dallas, TX and will remain there until he gets a service animal. The problem is that the hospital has a year-long wait on getting a service dog. Is there ANYTHING that they can do, to get a service animal more quickly? Are their protocols that might qualify him to be moved to the top ofthe list? Are there other ways to for this family to obtain a service animal? He has fallen from the seizures, and has done damage to his brain. Mentally, he is about 4yrs old, and the parents do not know where to turn to help their son. If he had a service dog, the parents could be alerted to his seizures, and prevent his falls. Feel free to PM me, or email me at Thank you so very much!

  5. Hello, My mom is 85 yrs old and she has an inoperable brain tumor, benign in nature. She has seizures and although I live with her I sometimes need to go out and run errands, work, etc. I would like to obtain a service dog for her. We live in Port St. Lucie, Florida, can you advise me as to where I can obtain a service dog for her?
    Thank you,

    • Beverly,
      I will be replying to this comment privately to secure our connection. Right now both of you need extensive support. National Seizure Disorders Foundation has this for you. A for a seizure service dog, there are questions to be answered as part of the process of obtaining a seizure service dog. These questions and more will come in my email to you.

      Our thoughts are with you and your mom-
      Tonya Heathco,CEO
      National Seizure Disorders Foundation

  6. I need information on how to get a seizure service dog, I live in Salt Lake City, Utah. Please respond to me at your earliest convenience. You can also call me, please leave a msg with your phone # and I will return your call. Thank You

  7. can someone from this foundtion help me get a service dog for me? I can go into a later detail then what and what i am faceing and need. thanks.

  8. My Service Dog is a 4 year old English Shepherd named Pepsi. She is a Hero in so many ways. She is trained to perform over 30 tasks to mitigate all my disabilities. She is also trained in guide, and Mobility. I honestly don’t know where I would be without her. I have contemplated suicide, as an alternative with living the way I do many times. I feel like a leach, a parasite of some sort, because I cannot care for myself anymore. I have to live off my disabled, single mother, who can barely afford to care for herself and my brother. Pepsi gives me a reason to live. She has stopped me a couple times, but sometimes I get so low, I just don’t know what to do. Training dogs for others has helped me in so many ways, because I know there is something to live for. She is a great dog, loyal, smart, and goofy. Loves everyone and everything. I wish my outlook on life could be as great as hers seems to be.


  9. My “service dog” a 5 year old Papillon was given to me by the breeder whom I knew and had helped raise her Great Danes. This Pap, George, is a bit too big (tall and long) to meet the “standard” but is beautiful and loving and devoted to us, especially me. Got him to me my psychiatric support dog. He has been trained to calm me, and now training to bring me a wireless phone that we put in a cottton sock when no else is here, so he can pull it to the floor and drag it to me. Complicated training task, but working. He has had his Obedience training. Want to take him to Canine Good Citizenship class when I’m up to it, then get a vest for official “Service Dog” but don’t know how to do this. Need help. The nurses in the hospital last summer always let him be up on my bed beside me (I have a service dog sticker sewn to the back of his carrier which has some influence). He’s wonderful with everyone, especially close to me. He lets my partner know whenever I’m having seizure sounds in bed, and now being trained to bring me the phone, I figure he should qualify. I’m 71 and right now afrraid of a dural av fistula that they discovered in a 3 Tesla MRI a few months ago. It’s called an “unruptured aneurism” and scares me. The treatment is too risky for my age, so I have to live with it. l am going to an epilepsy specialist in San Francisco (I live in East Bay) this week, referred by my neurologist for extra help and advice. … Prayers appreciated.

    • Mary Beth,

      So good to see you here at the National Seizure Disorders Foundation site. Thank you for your wonderful comment. Sounds like you are on the right track to enjoying a great working relationship with your service dog. You mentioned needing a service vest, NSDF will help you with that. In fact, I will reach you through another connection and we’ll get the information needed to get a service dogs vest for your working dog.

      I know the fear a diagnosis of unruptured aneurysm can have on a person. I too had that same diagnosis about 20 years ago, mine healed quickly. You have our prayers and will be in our thoughts throughout the week.

      Peace & Powerful Prayers -

      Tonya Heathco, Founder&CEO
      National Seizure Disorders Foundation
      NSDF Community

  10. Aloha all..
    I lost my Jake (German Shepherd ). A few years back. He was the love of my life & did he know that. Ya !. He knew my body language more than I knew myself.

    He was never trained to be my service dog for my seizures. He would know something & literally pull me down to the ground.

    The first few times I had no idea what he was doing, he acted like he was hurt or in pain, so I would go down to him looking to see if he stepped on something & then we would lay on me. He was a big boy 150#s..

    Or he would bark uncontrollably & prance around (like a little kid that was about to pee his pants).

    I figured that Ihe must of known that i saved him (he was an older dog) , & he was returning the favor … Saving me.

    I miss him terribly, live on my sweet baby..

    I’m looking for another Shepherd now. I want an older one again, I don’t want the puppy thing. Cute as they are, high Mainteance .

    BTW… Love your site.

  11. When I was younger I only wish I would have known about seizure dogs. I was nothing for me to have a dozen seizures a day. It was all hormones and no one would listen to me. It would happen around ovalation and mense time. Now that I have been in menopause for several years I very rarely have a seizure. To make matters worse I was placed on a hormone supplement while going thru my early years of menopause.
    God Bless your Dogs and those lucky enough to get one.

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