Month: September 2015


Service Dogs are People Too

One of the first things I was told before he was placed with me was not to treat him like a person. If I did so, it would really screw him up psychologically. Sometimes he acts more like a person than a dog, though.

Buddy can be a real ham. When he rolls on his back and gets his belly scratched, his lips peel back revealing all his teeth. He’ll lie there with a slaphappy grin on his face that disappears only after I’ve finished. He also break-dances. While lying on his back, he’ll curl his body into C’s, wriggling left then right, dancing to a beat that only he hears.

Occasionally, Buddy will get a sheepish grin with a bit of a wolfish smirk to it. This is when he gets a case of room clearing gas. It’s like a combination of sulfur and rotten cantaloupes.

One night, I was watching a DVD and enjoying a bag of microwave popcorn. Before leaving for the next room, I set the bag on the floor. Next thing, I heard “THUMP! THUMP! THUMP! THUMP!” I returned and saw that Buddy had his head stuck in the bag and it was covering his eyes. He was banging his head into the wall. When I finally pulled the bag off, I got a big thank-you slurp to the side of my face.

Buddy has a collection of stuffed animals. They all look like they’ve had some pretty rough treatment. His rabbit has one ear, teddy bear is minus a head, and he has a three-legged teddy dog. He likes picking them up between his teeth, throwing his head back, and letting go. Some afternoons are filled with flying rabbits, teddy bears, and teddy dogs. He loves animals that have squeakers in them. It’s as though the squeaker is the prize in a Cracker Jack box. He’ll chew off arms, legs, ears, or tails and pull out the stuffing to get at this “treasure.”



Sensitive-Detection Dog

Buddy is a sensitive-detection dog, sometimes referred to as a “seizure dog.” He is able to detect a change in smell due to an altered chemical balance that occurs in me about ten minutes before a seizure. Buddy knows what I smell like normally and is able to pick up on that change. When this happens, he attempts to let me know. This is called detection. Since Buddy was placed with me in March of 2003 he has had over three hundred detections. The Superman Seizures occur so quickly; Buddy really has no time to react to them. There’s no detection, ten minutes, seizure. It’s standing and fly through the air, crash land on the floor in the matter of a second or two.

Once, as we were headed across the room he stopped and began backing up into me. He forced me backward into a chair and planted himself on top of my feet. There was absolutely no chance that I could have been able to get up and move with him positioned as he was. Ten minutes later, I had a seizure.

Another time, I started to get up from the chair by the computer. Buddy stood in front of me blocking the way. First he stood on all four legs, and then he’d drop down to his forelegs, and back up again. He whined, talked, and bounced up and down. I took the hint and sat down. Shortly after I had a ten-minute seizure. There are hundreds more detections but I’m sorry to say I didn’t keep a journal of them, those were a good assortment of them though.


About Service Dogs

When a Service Dog is placed with a person, it is for a probationary period of six months. At the end of that time they check to see that you’ve kept up with his health care, eating regimen, and exercise. The animal/handler team is then tested in various ways and if they pass, the dog becomes fully certified. Buddy was placed with me March 21st, 2003 and was fully certified September 22nd, 2003.


“I always tell our volunteers that I wish everyone could be there when I place a service dog with its new owner, they are so excited about their new partner and for the help these dogs give them. The dogs change their lives dramatically,” said Peper-Rucks.


Early Warning System

While at a grocery store, we were headed down the aisle. Buddy was leading the way on the left side of the shopping cart. He stopped and looked over his shoulder at me. I ignored him. We went a bit further and he stopped and looked over his shoulder. I ignored him again. We went a bit further yet and he stopped, turned his body around completely, sat in front of me, and glared. If Buddy could talk, “Listen up Buster, you ignored the first two, you aren’t going to miss this one.” Thirty minutes later, while we were in a restaurant, I had two seizures. The first involved slipping in and out of consciousness for about ten minutes. The second lasted about fifteen minutes. I needed to learn to trust Buddy’s instincts.

We spent a good deal of our initial time together learning how to read each other. Not only must he be able to sense a seizure coming, I must be able to read what he is trying to tell me.


Those Damned Wood-ticks

In the late spring of 2003 Buddy had a bout with Lyme disease. Doctor Pete prescribed the antibiotic, doxycycline. I was supposed to give him two pills every four hours, eight pills a day. I had to give him one pill at a time, prying his jaws open, and shoving the pill as far back in his mouth as I could. Before he could work the pill forward with his tongue, I clamped my hands around his muzzle until he swallowed. He got the second pill down with no problem…I thought. Then he reared back and threw up all over the shag carpeting. He threw up six times that morning. His stomach could not handle that dose of the antibiotic at all. After talking it over with Doctor Pete, I ended up giving him one pill early in the morning and another in mid-afternoon until the pill bottle was empty. After animals have been treated for and cured of Lyme’s, they will still test positive for it, for a number of years. Buddy now tests negative for it.

Canine Seizure Control


A Little History

The majority of this was written before 1-27-2014. Buddy’s a beautiful, yellow Labrador retriever and is probably the gentlest creature on the face of the earth. He was bred and trained at Sunshine Service Dogs, Inc., in Luck, Wisconsin. Director Lori Peper-Rucks trains dogs for hearing, mobility, sensitive-detection, law enforcement, and search and rescue.

Buddy was born in January of 2000. In the first year of his life, he lived with a foster family who took the responsibility of feeding and caring for him. Beginning in his second year, he lived at Sunshine and began the intensive training needed to become a service dog.

Buddy is sponsored by the Grantsburg Animal Hospital. This means that he receives basic care free of charge, and food and medications at a special discounted rate. His vet is Doctor Pete Magnuson. Cost for dog food made me go with Purina Dog Chow, Buddy didn’t seem to mind.

I can speak to your group about:

epilepsy, schizophrenia, depression, panic attacks, anxiety syndrome,  trust, love, acceptance, coping

for a negotiable fee: contact at 715 463 3479 (not a cell), Mister Miller does not nor has he ever driven a car, so transportation, and if necessary lodging and meals would have to be provided. Video footage of the event would be part of the speaking fee. His plans to host a podcast titled: The Zen of Epilepsy Living (the title of his next E-book) are in the works, discussing such topics as medicinal marijuana, alternative natural herbal remedies,  acupuncture for seizure control, canine seizure control, what the true figures and success rates for neurosurgery actually are, the vagal nerve stimulator

disclaimer: Mister Miller does not have a medical degree, or psychiatric degree, and can not be held liable for injury, it is only personal experience that gives him knowledge of schizophrenia, depression, anxiety syndrome, and panic attacks; the Neuro-psych people deem these conditions active. His use of a psychotropic: Risperdal for 14 years following Serzone, an antidepressant give him knowledge of psychiatric medication. Just because you need a little chemical assistance to cope with mental health issues: as Mister Miller puts it, a chemical buffer from harsh reality is nothing to be ashamed of nor is epilepsy. Emotional baggage are part and parcel of the seizure condition and are part of the course of treatment.  I will not be financially liable, and would recommend you see a neurologist, epileptologist, or one of the psych people including therapists. I can speak about love because love requires trust and trust requires honesty. I honestly hope that in our discussions or in this blog I can honestly show you that if you love yourself, and trust in your Zen consciousness you won’t necessarily defeat your E but will help you cope with the seizure condition and life in general. Experience: 41 years worth is the degree I hold; I over those four decades and one year can enlighten you about epilepsy, mental deterioration and inevitable breakdown, and slogging out day after day coping with the seizure condition., after having epilepsy for 41 years I am an epilepsy expert; I might not know it all, but damn it all, I’m an expert