13 Jun Narcolepsy Service Dog
Service dogs play a major part in the rehabilitation and on going support for people with narcolepsy. New Hope Dogs is a non-profit that helps people obtain service dogs. Service dogs are raised from puppies and have an average cost of $25,000. New Hope Dogs organization requires $18,000 from the patient and they cover the remaining costs. They are unique because they are certified from Assistance Dogs International. This group makes sure that non-profits conform to strict standards in patient care and dog training ability. Service dogs take 2 years to train. James Dansereau is working with New Hope Dogs organization with a goal to obtain a service dog and needs help.
James D. tells his story about why he needs a service dog and why he is asking for your help:
Narcolepsy is a chronic brain disorder that involves poor control of sleep-wake cycles. People with narcolepsy experience periods of extreme daytime sleepiness and sudden, irresistible bouts of sleep that can strike at any time. These “sleep attacks” usually last a few seconds to several minutes.
Narcolepsy greatly affect daily activities. James unwillingly falls asleep while at work, in meetings, and most dangerously, when driving. In addition to daytime sleepiness, other major symptoms include vivid dream-like images or hallucinations, as well as total paralysis just before falling asleep or just after waking-up.
Excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS)
EDS interferes with my normal activities on a daily basis, whether or not there has been sufficient sleep at night. It as a persistent sense of mental cloudiness, a lack of energy, a depressed mood, and extreme exhaustion. People with narcolepsy also experience memory lapses, and have great difficulty maintaining concentration while at work. There is a strong need to nap through out the day.
Microsleeps: Automatic behavior involves performing a task during a short period of sleep but without any apparent interruption. During these episodes, people are usually engaged in habitual, essentially “second nature” activities such as taking notes in class, typing, or driving. They cannot recall their actions, and their performance is almost always impaired. Their handwriting may, for example, degenerate into an illegible scrawl, or they may store items in bizarre locations and then forget where they placed them. If an episode occurs while driving, individuals may get lost or have an accident. I have these microsleeps most frequently while driving and at work. The most dangerous of course is while I am driving.
My service dog will be specifically trained to help me. They will alert me in the morning to make sure that I wake up on time and get ready for work and do other daily activities. They will also alert me when I am going to have an attack. They do this by barking, nudging, and licking. This will help me to stay awake and alert until I can be in a safe place. They will also remind me to take the medication I need to stay awake. Taking this medicine daily and on time is a key to fighting the symptoms of narcolepsy. This medicine is extremely expensive. It cost $400 a month when discounts are available.
Due to my extreme fatigue and lack of sleep I suffer from bouts of severe depression and anxiety. My dog will be trained to apply pressure therapy and hugs. This is a simple act of pushing against me during panic attacks and high stress. This simple act lowers the heart rate and blood pressure and allows for a quicker recovery. It has been proven that having a service dog will help manage stress, depression, and anxiety. The constant companion will also help reduce my fatigue and memory loss. He or she will be trained to help motivate me to do small exercise like walking. These low impact and low energy exercises help fight the symptoms of narcolepsy.
There is no cure for narcolepsy. The only options right now are stimulants and drugs that induce a deep sleep. Service dogs have proven to be a great asset for people to have a “normal life”.
Donating for this service dog will help in several ways. It will allow me to keep my job so I can continue to support my wife and 3 kids. It will also allow me to stay off of disability. My goal is to work as long as I am able. This service dog will allow me to become and stay an active member of society. All funds will go towards obtaining a service dog and nothing else.
Donations can be made directly to New Hope Dogs at http://www.newhopedogs.org