Family Raising Money to Train Dog That Will Alert Others of Girl - Northern Michigan's News Leader

Family Raising Money to Train Dog That Will Alert Others of Girl's Seizures

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A dog in the classroom is unconventional, but for one northern Michigan third grader, it could save her life.

Christine Cole, from Gaylord, suffers from a severe form of epilepsy.

With very few alternatives, her family is turning to a dog for help.

They hope she can help Christine when she's having a seizure.

Christine's mom says it's been a roller coaster ride since the epilepsy diagnosis back in 2009.

They're hoping once their dog is trained, it will mean a better life for not only Christine, but those around her.

"Last week she had two seizures, two fairly bad seizures in school."

It's a frightening scenario and it's one the Cole family faces all too often. After numerous attempts to stabilize her seizures, Cyndie Cole wasn't sure what they would do.

"I said 'What do people do when they can't find the right mix?' and here I have a child that's 7 years old and she can't complete a full day of school, and she said 'Well there's always a seizure assist dog,'" explains Cole.

Enter Xena, the German Shepherd that's being trained to be by Christine's side.

"It's going to be a very intensive training, she's got to learn how to respond to Christine. Xena will be fine-tuned and taught how to sense when she's having a seizure, or going to have a seizure, 15 to 20 minutes ahead of time."

That intensive training comes with an expensive price tag: $25,000. They have set up a fundraising web site so Xena can be trained and certified as a seizure alert dog.

"It's just gotten to the point now where we've got to get it finished, I just can't let my child and her classmates and everybody else go through wonder, you look at her and wonder when's the next one going to happen, and it makes it very difficult and disruptive," says Cole.

Cyndie says she looks forward to the day when Christine and Xena go off to school together, and the peace of mind she's been longing for.

"It will be a whole totally different life, I'm hoping, there will always be that worry, but I know Xena will be there with her and Xena will take care of her and protect her because that's what this training will teach her to do."

If you are interested in helping Xena and Christine, visit Help get Xena to School.