Trained Dog Helps Robbinsdale Woman Cope with Seizures
Ryder, a new Can Do Canines graduate, is now on the job. The 3-year-old black Labrador retriever helps Catie Schlenk, who suffers from a neurological condition.
“A big part of what he does for me, is if I’m feeling a seizure coming on, he gets my medicine,” said Schlenk.
Schlenk copes with a neurological condition that has caused her to experience seizures almost daily. The Robbinsdale resident also volunteers at Can Do Canines, working the front desk at the agency her dog was trained at.
“If I send him to get medication and then lay down on the couch he knows what’s happening. I don’t have to command him or ask him to come jump up on top of me. He just jumps up on top of me because that’s what they trained him to do,” said Schlenk.
She added, “I’ve found that my seizures last a lot less. They are often shorter. They’re less intense.”
An ongoing mission
Can Do Canines trains dogs to help people in need in a variety of ways including assisting people prone to seizures. Schlenk was among those who helped volunteer to raise dogs.
“All of our dogs are raised both in homes and in our prison program by inmates and she was one of our volunteers,” said Jeff Johnson, executive director at Can Do Canines. “I don’t think she was thinking at all about getting a dog to help her. But it became obvious to her during her volunteering with us that that was an option.”
Schlenk says Ryder has become a welcome addition to her family.
“I have a child at home. And so it’s really great to be able to kind of tuck myself away, send Ryder to get my meds and he comes and he’s with me. I know my husband can take care of my son. And Ryder can take care of me,” said Schlenk.
Catie says she’ll continue to volunteer at Can Do Canines for the foreseeable future.