Loneliness can look different for everyone. For most, loneliness means being alone, for Jana, loneliness meant never being able to be alone. “She started having myoclonic seizures and absent seizures at 14 and was diagnosed with epilepsy,” Jana’s mom, Tara said. “She lost all independence and was not allowed to be alone in her own bedroom due to seizures. Jana was very lonely, and depressed and had a lot of anxiety and panic attacks. Seizures were scary, and hospital stays were lonely.”
The loneliness extended beyond the home for Jana too. “Peers made fun of her and her friends were scared of her after seeing her have seizures. They didn’t want to be her friend or around her,” her mom said. Tara and Kevin began looking for the solution to their daughter’s loneliness, and most importantly, the safety and security of her independence.
In May of 2022, Jana and her family found out “the 4 Paws magic is real.” Matched with Graham, a golden retriever born in December 2020 and Mahogany Class Graduate, Jana officially gained her independence. “As a parent, I feel I can let her alone in her room without constantly checking. He goes to school with her and I feel better knowing she has him with her.”
Graham works with Jana as a multipurpose dog primarily working in seizure alert. Tara said “Most didn’t offer what 4 Paws did with a multipurpose dog. Graham helps alert to seizures, behavior disruption, and mobility after a seizure or side effects from medications.”
“Graham has been her best friend when she had no one. He listens to her and his fur has soaked up many of her tears.” Loneliness looks different for everyone. For Jana, she isn’t lonely anymore because she is always with her best friend.
“Since getting Graham, Jana is doing better and has a friend with her always. She is learning how to love and care for him and responsibility. She can stay alone in her room and listen to music or read and sleep alone. She is maturing and gaining independence again.”