CHLOE'S & CHICK'S PARTNERSHIP
In Chloe's own words...
My name is Chloe Veeder and I am thirteen years old. Two and a half years ago I hit my head on the bottom of our neighborhood swimming pool and my life changed dramatically. I sustained a traumatic brain injury from the accident and underwent a year of intensive oculomotor, vision, and vestibular therapies. I had been very involved in sports and had to stop playing football and gymnastics- my two favorite hobbies. I missed the last part of my fifth grade year at school. When this accident happened, my whole life turned upside down.
Throughout sixth grade I was on the mend and was making improvements every day. A year after my injury I was almost completely healed and thought the worst part of the journey was behind me, when out of the blue I developed seizures. I went to numerous doctors, specialists, and hospitals. Nobody could figure out why this was happening or how to stop them. I had no way of knowing when they were coming and had to stay in a wheelchair so I wouldn’t cause additional head trauma since I would fall wherever I was. I have had over 250 seizures in the past year that can last anywhere from 30 seconds to one and a half hours. I can be conscious or unconscious when these happen and they are very scary, I had to stop going to school in seventh grade because the school couldn’t keep me safe from falling. I lost all of my friends and my independence. My family and I were searching for answers and solutions on how to live life with this unpredictable and scary condition. We decided to try anything. That was when we began exploring the possibility of a medical alert dog. We were invited to the home of a local family with a medical alert dog to hear more about their experience. While we were there, their service dog actually alerted us 45 minutes before I had a seizure! This was a miracle! This alert gave us a sense of hope that we had been searching for since it helped us to learn that my body actually sends off some signal prior to my seizures that is able to be sensed by a furry miracle worker!
We were excited and optimistic that this could be the solution we had been looking for to help me get my life back. We learned more about EENP, their program and their amazing mission. EENP was excited to work with us and see if other dogs could potentially sense and alert to an impending seizures, With no promises... but a whole lot of hope and prayers, my family and I met with a group of five potential graduates. Amazingly enough 4 out of the 5 dogs were able to alert to a seizure. We we amazed and beyond excited! EENP invited us to continue the process to started fundraising to see if we could make this opportunity a reality, Through the help of “Chloe’s Cavalry” our amazing supporters and friends, and a scholarship through EENP we were able to join the Client Team Training in June of 2018. Throughout the training I worked with all the potential service dog graduates and the trainers watched how the dogs interacted, reacted and connected with me. On day three of training I was matched with my Guardian Angel Chick and my life has never been the same since!!
Chick is 100% accurate (hasn’t missed a seizure) and alerts me 30-60 minutes prior to a seizure. He is trained to alert me, and my parents, and to get help so I don’t need to be in my wheelchair anymore and can have my independence back. I am now able to do things like shower without my parents having to be there, swim, play outside and even go out without fear of having a seizure unexpectedly. But that’s not all… Chick is also trained to provide deep pressure therapy (DPT). So not only does he tell us before I have a seizure, so I have time to lie down and get safe, but he actually stops the seizures too. He lays across my abdomen and within 30 seconds I am back up again. Now I can get right back into life and can be a normal kid again. Chick has given me back my life and taught me so much more. Now I am able to go to school, go out in the community and know I will be safe and have amazing teachers and friends who have welcomed us both everywhere we go!
Chick, through the amazing work and hearts of the EENP team, has changed my life. The trainers are now like a part of our family, and a huge piece of our success story. My neurologist was amazed at my last follow up visit that Chick was able to do things for me that he and the medicine could not do. He said that he wished every patient could have a “Chick” to improve the quality of their lives. I know I am truly blessed now with Chick as my partner, and I want to help others also be able to have this life changing opportunity in the future. I have volunteered to spread awareness about EENP, and raised funds to help grow the scholarship funds for others. Although I may not be able to get back into sports because of my brain injury, Chick has opened the door to helping me discover other passions. This month Chick and I will be starring in our second play on stage together... a reality that could never have been possible without Chick by my side. Because of Chick and the work of EENP, I can pursue my love of theater, and the rest of my life, on my own two feet without a wheelchair. My family and I are forever grateful for the blessing that EENP has provided us of giving me my childhood back!
As a parent you feel like a failure when you can’t do anything to help your child. We helplessly watched Chloe fall repeatedly and have her life completely change for the worse. No doctor, no medicine, no checkbook or specialized treatment made any difference. Seeing Chloe struggle daily with unexpected seizures and seeing her life change dramatically was heartbreaking. We prayed every day for answers, solutions and miracles to help our little girl overcome her terrible reality that prevented her from having friends, going to school and even leaving the house. We could never have expected that the answers to our prayers would come with four furry legs and a huge amazing nose! Chick has brought us our daughter back! He has protected her from falling, supervised her in the shower and gotten help whenever she needs it. Chick the wonder dog has given us a whole new outlook on life and opened up doors Chloe had previously had slammed shut. He is truly a guardian angel for who we will be “fur”ever grateful!