A young woman from County Down, Northern Ireland has shared a video of the moment her dog, a two-year-old Labrador named Poppy, alerted her that she was about to have an epileptic fit and then saved her life.
Shannon Locke, 23, filmed the entire scene and shared it online, where it has gone viral, the Daily Mail reports.
Poppy sensed the seizure about 15 minutes before it began. With the warning, Locke was able to turn on her camera and get into a safe position on her back on the bed. The dog can then be seen clearing Locke’s airways by licking her owner's mouth to prevent her choking on excessive saliva. She also helps Locke ‘come around quicker’ after the episode.
Locke shared the video on Facebook. “I’ve thought long and hard about posting this as it's incredibly embarrassing... But this is epilepsy,” she wrote.
“My gorgeous seizure alert dog Poppy alerted me to this 15 minutes before, which gave me time to set the camera up. Poppy is amazing and not only does she alert me but she brings me out of the post icle stage of a seizure.
“I hope everyone can now see how amazing she is my beautiful life saving fur baby, who I would die without (literally!!) Neil Powell is the amazing trainer and we have started a charity up. Like our new page to keep up to date with Poppy and other life changing dogs! www.facebook.comDisability Assistance Dogs.”
She told Belfast Live that she has had seizures since she was 17. The seizures occur several times a week, and can often happen put to five times a day, which prohibits Shannon from working or leaving the house. She called Poppy her “lifeline.”
“One day she just started to act strange, I'd no idea why. She just kept coming up to me and was panting. I didn't think much of it to begin with, but then I realized she was picking up that something wasn't right,” she said.
Her sister wrote on Reddit: “Up to 15-20 minutes before a seizure, Poppy will let my sister know by showing some distress. Generally she does this by using her paws to distract my sister on her lower legs or uses her snout to press on the back of her knee.
“Shannon will then have enough time to switch anything off and make herself safe. It's amazing. I think what needs to be said is that Poppy isn't necessarily preventative, but she helps my sister live a more independent life.”
Locke added: “She's not only my best friend, she's a lifesaver. She has given me the confidence to get out and about and enjoy my life again.”
Scientists at Queen’s University in Belfast, who are conducting ground-breaking research into how dogs could be used to help epilepsy sufferers, are now studying Poppy’s abilities.