DOG HELPS HOCKEY PLAYER DEAL WITH SEIZURES - “Moxie is amazing…She’s by my side, every step, every day. I certainly wouldn’t be able to be as independent without the service and safety she provides.”
A sled-hockey player named Christy Gardner was recently honored as USA Hockey’s Disabled Athlete of the Year. Due to injuries suffered while serving in the army, Gardner suffers from occasional seizures. However, her service dog, a Golden Retriever named Moxie, is trained to stabilize her when a seizure occurs. Read more from the N.Y. Daily News:
Moxie is a 5-year-old golden retriever, an assistance dog with a weakness for peanut butter and an astonishing set of skills, all of them cultivated to keep Gardner safe. Moxie, happily, did not have to do much of anything but watch nine days ago, when Gardner was honored as USA Hockey’s Disabled Athlete of the Year — a distinction earned not so much by her dazzling skills as a sled-hockey player as by her voracious appetite for improvement — getting after her latest athletic passion the way Moxie gets after a chew toy.
Technically, Moxie was trained only to help respond to a seizure. So if Gardner were stricken, Moxie would go get the telephone and bring it to her. She could open the door, and run over to a neighbor’s house and ring the doorbell. She could even climb a ladder or activate an elevator in order to stay close to Gardner.
But because of the close bond that Gardner and Moxie forged at the beginning of the puppy’s life, Moxie grew so in tune with her owner that she could detect a seizure moments before it would happen. Much as diabetes-assistance dogs can pick up on the secretion of a hormone before a low blood-sugar attack — dogs have a sense of smell 100 times more acute than humans do — seizure-assistance dogs often can detect an almost imperceptible twitch, a toe tap or finger snap, that occurs before a full seizure.
Moxie is an amazing dog who is helping an amazing athlete. What a pair! Click here for the full story. (Photos by Robert F. Bukaty)