■ Chronicle News Service
Sonia has to stay at home to be safe. Why? Because she has epilepsy and she doesn’t know when she will have a seizure. Seizures can happen at any time and without warning. If she had a seizure in a crowd or a store or on the street, she could fall into harm’s way. Will she ever be free to be able to safely go out and live her life?
Yes, she will.
Sonia and her family have worked diligently to raise the funds necessary to purchase a seizure alert service dog. This dog will be able to sense when Sonia is about to have a seizure, alert her to get to a safe place and then guard her until she is safe.
The cost to train a seizure alert dog from Little Angels Service Dogs is $24,000, a price too high for most people to simply write a check for. But the family did not give up despite that large dollar amount. They held several fundraisers, an internet campaign, and on Saturday Nov. 25 a fundraiser at Golden Era Golf Course raised the final $6,000 they needed to get the dog.
As the golf luncheon neared a close, Sonia’s mom counted the money. They were shy of their $24,000 goal by just $400, but the golfers did not let it go at that. The golfers dug deep in their pockets and stepped up to gather that last $400; now Sonia will get the seizure alert dog she needs and be free to leave her home.
While the dog still needs to be trained, and Sonia needs to learn how to interact with the dog, her future finally looks much brighter than the four walls that surround her. If all goes as planned, Sonia, as a senior in high school, will be free to attend graduation with her peers and her service dog. Her goal is to become a nurse in a pediatric hospital.
To learn more about service dogs, or to donate toward a service dog for another child, visit littleangelsservicedogs.org. The organization trains dogs to assist people with autism, hearing loss, mobility limitations, mental health problems and seizures.