Thank you for taking the time to read our story and to get to know Ezekiel. Zeke is 7.5 years old. He loves to play games. He likes to play just about any and all games. He also loves to laugh and has a very contagious laugh. His laugh draws you in and makes you just want to join him.
Ezekiel was 2.5 years old when he had his first seizure, and less than a year later, he was having hundreds of seizures a day. It has been a five year journey trying to find some form of control. Journeys include both peaks and valleys, and we have experienced both. We have had periods of little to no seizures, and days in the hospital. Our fight for control began with his diagnosis. Ezekiel has MAE also called Doose Syndrome Epilepsy. It is considered a catastrophic childhood epilepsy. It tends to cause regression and a whole host of learning and behavioral challenges. In addition to seizures and learning delays, our biggest daily challenges are behavior regulation and wandering.
Here are some of the things Ezekiel’s service dog will be trained to do:
- Seizure Alert: Ezekiel’s dog will be trained to recognize and alert us to seizures. This is especially helpful at night because he is at risk for SUDEP (Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy). We hope this will allow him to gain more independence in order to sleep safely on his own.
- Behavior Disruption: Ezekiel struggles to express his emotions verbally and often reacts like an upset toddler. The dog will be able to provide comfort, help him calm down and change his focus away from what upset him.
- Tethering; second leash: This will be especially helpful in large crowded places. Unless Zeke is actively having seizures, he wants to run and play. However, he tends to wander and be hard to keep track of in crowds. Tethering will allow him to walk and yet not elope (wander away).
- Balance: His service dog will be trained to help provide balance, especially after he has had a seizure, but is still mobile.
These are tasks which can only be provided by a specially trained service dog. Additionally, Zeke’s dog will be a constant friend in a world that challenges our emotions. The service dog will also help him continue to gain more and more independence without sacrificing safety.
We have chosen to work with 4 Paws for Ability. They are committed to helping children receive service dogs and will continue to support us for the life of Zeke’s service dog. According to a 2017 study, it costs 4 Paws between $40,000 to $60,000 to breed and train a service dog. They ask that we come up with $20,000 of that. Once our fundraising is complete we will be placed in a training class. Classes are scheduled about 2.5 years out.
We want to thank you for reading this and consider a donation towards Ezekiel’s Service Dog.
With all our love,
Ezekiel Blauvelt and family