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EENP Assistance Dog JJ makes history!

This amazing story of JJ's life-changing nose has captivated people on every continent! When KK's family started looking for an assistance dog for their five year old daughter, they were turned down repeatedly... until EENP agreed to help.

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JJ keeps KK company while they wait for surgery to beginEENP client Kaelyn Krawczyk (KK) had a planned surgery on December 18th, 2013 at Duke Medical Center. KK is a seven-year-old girl who has a very rare condition called mastocytosis that causes her to have "reactions" that range from mild to severe anaphylaxis. Anesthesia and a medication that might be needed during the surgical procedure are both known triggers for KK's reactions.

There is no medical technology to anticipate these reactions; rather, the medical team simply has to respond to changes in KK's vital signs once the reaction is under way. These reactions can quickly become life-threatening, and as KK's anesthesiologist, Dr. Brad Taicher, pointed out, "we don't want to wait till KK has a problem to treat it - we want all the warning we can have." JJ had convinced KK's medical team that she could detect KK's reactions long before their equipment could when, on a previous hospital visit, JJ alerted KK's mom to a reaction five minutes before any of KK's vital signs changed.

Dr. Taicher requested that JJ be in the procedure room for the surgery because he felt she was the most sensitive technology available to him to detect KK's reactions. Taicher explained, "It sounds silly, in this age of technology, when we have millions of dollars worth of equipment beeping around me, that we had a little dog who was more sensitive than all the machines." If JJ could give them even a minute of advance warning that KK was about to have a major change in condition, it could make a huge difference in the outcome.

The surgical team gets ready while JJ monitors KK's condition from the cornerIt is an understatement to say that it is highly unusual to have a dog invited to be present for surgery at a major medical center -- it may well be unprecedented -- but KK's medical team felt that the risk of having a dog in the procedure room would be far outweighed by the benefit of having early detection of a reaction during the surgery.

On December 18th, JJ accompanied KK into the procedure room for her surgery, and made history. The surgery went very well, and KK only had one minor reaction as she came out of anesthesia. Please watch and read some of the great coverage of this historic event. There is more background on KK's and JJ's partnership below the links.

The story has been all over US print and television news and popular US news-sharing sites:
  • ABC World News Tonight with Diane Sawyer: link
  • The Doctors (CBS): Part 1 | Part 2
  • Inside Edition: transcript of 1/8/14 broadcast
  • Inside Edition: bonus footage
  • Yahoo! News: link
  • ABC national website - link
  • NBC national website - video: link
  • Today (NBC) website: link
  • CBS News: link
  • CNN: link
  • News & Observer - article: link
  • News & Observer - 10 photos: link
  • WNCN (NBC) - these are the first NBC stories (two news clips and written story): link
  • WTVD (ABC) - this is the first ABC story (video and written story): link
  • FoxNews.com: link
  • The Huffington Post: link
  • Talk 910 San Francisco - radio interview with JJ's trainer, Deb Cunningham: link
  • Bustle: link
  • The Chronicle (Duke): link
  • Pet Life Radio: link
  • Carolina Today: link
  • Dog Fancy magazine, October 2014 issue
The story has been shared in news media on every continent, and translated into a number of different languages:
  • Brazil - original 5-minute piece on TV Globo: link
  • International Business Times: link
  • Canada Journal: link
  • ECanadaNow: link
  • Peru: link
  • Daily Mail (UK): link
  • Poland: link
  • Hungary: link
  • Croatia: link
  • Croatia (again): link
  • Hong Kong: link
  • New Zealand: link
  • Australia: link
  • Africa: link
  • Zimbabwe: link
  • Africa: link
  • Headlines and Global News (HNGN): link
  • Spanish-language blog: link
And it has been shared on a number of special-interest websites:
  • Duke's website: link
  • American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA): link
  • Health Newsline: link
  • TaleMed (Talent for Medicine): link
  • EMSWorld: link
  • Dog Heirs: link
  • Orvis News: link
  • I Love Dogs: link
  • Growing Your Baby: link

Your support is crucial for EENP to make more life-changing placements

EENP has placed 10 assistance dogs since 2010. KK's and JJ's partnership is just one of 10 amazing stories... and a demonstration of the many more awesome partnerships that are ahead for EENP. Please help us make those placements possible by making a donation to EENP today. You can donate online through PayPal or by mailing a check to Eyes Ears Nose and Paws at PO Box 3443, Chapel Hill, NC 27515. We are a 501(c)(3) nonprofit and your donation is tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law.

Your support will make EENP's future placements possible. Please make a gift today!

About KK's and JJ's partnership

In June 2012, EENP placed a dog with a (then) five-year-old girl named KK who has a rare condition called mastocytosis.  In a very short time, EENP's Program Director Deb Cunningham trained a dog (who had already been trained to detect blood sugar highs and lows) to detect KK's "reactions", which can progress suddenly and sometimes with no symptoms or warning to anaphylactic shock. KK's new partner is a scrappy little rescue mutt named JJ (whose name is a complete coincidence), and JJ has changed KK's life. 

This is a very rare condition, and KK is in the top percentiles in terms of severity.  As you can imagine, even if it were possible to develop a tool that could detect her reactions before they progressed, there is no financial incentive for anyone to invest in that research and development with so few people affected. That's where JJ changes KK's story completely.  JJ was trained in a matter of months to do something that is otherwise simply not possible.  She continuously monitors KK's condition.  Her monitoring has enabled KK to attend school and participate in everyday kid activities that would otherwise have been closed to her, because KK's reactions are unfortunately triggered by exercise, changes in temperature, fatigue, and stress -- in other words, everyday kid activities cause KK to have reactions.

KK's reactions are also triggered by a variety of foods and medications.  Unfortunately for KK, who has several other medical conditions that have required surgery, anesthesia is one of the triggers.  Over the course of JJ's placement with KK, KK's medical team has become convinced of JJ's ability to detect KK's reactions.  One of the first clear demonstrations of this for them happened when KK was in the hospital.  KK's mother left the room to get a snack while KK was sleeping, and she left JJ in the room in her travel crate.  JJ detected that KK was beginning to have a reaction, so she unzipped her crate and went and got KK's mom down the hall.  They came back to the room, where KK was still sleeping, hooked up to many monitors, and apparently fine.  About five minutes later, KK's blood pressure dropped precipitously.  There had been no sign that KK was about to have a major reaction, other than JJ's alert.

You can follow KK and JJ on Facebook at Angel Paws for KK. You can download a case study of KK's and JJ's partnership here.

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Background Information on KK's condition and her partnership with JJ398.9 KB

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