|-by Tami Mugler, Harli's mom - 2/26/08
Harli's Blue Obsidian aka Obi, is not just a pet to Harli. He is her life companion. He has, in his short one year,
learned to pick up her remote control, water bottle and blanket when she drops them. Although not consistent yet with
putting them in her lap, he is getting better all the time!
The most important thing he has done for her however, is ALERT US BEFORE a seizure begins! Harli had been
seizure free for over 12 years and we did not forsee ever needing Obi for this task. However, in October of 2007 Harli
went into 'status' (which is one seizure after another) lasting several hours. Prior to the seizures beginning Obi had
tried to alert us.
He put himself between Harli's home health aide and refused to leave Harli's side! He even followed them into the
shower where he KNOWS he is NOT allowed! I had to physically remove him from the area to which he planted
himself outside the bathroom door!
I had no idea what he was trying to tell me....20 minutes later while getting Harli dressed and still trying to keep Obi
out of the way Harli began seizing! We layed Harli on her bed and awaited the ambulance. Obi positioned himself
over her legs on the bed and had to be physically removed when the EMT's arrived.
Harli has had 2 more episodes of seizures since that time and Obi has ALERTED me each of those days as well.
WE now pay very close attention to Obi's behaviors and no longer excuse it to him being a puppy.
Seizure Alert dogs are very special indeed. I am not sure you can actually 'teach' this task. Either the dog has it or
they don't, and I truly believe that it is an example of the depth Harli and Obi bonded that he is so in tuned to her and
how she is feeling.
If he never learns to pick up another single thing for her, it won't matter. He has truly earned his place as her service
dog and a HERO in this family! :) He will continue to learn tasks that we deem appropriate and useful to Harli, we are
hoping to teach him more 'pick up' type tasks, eventually adding him bringing us items we need to administer care for
her, such as her AFO's (her leg braces), a pull-up for changing, and eventually adding pulling her wheelchair up the
drive way. (we do live in iowa and the ice can make getting from the bus to the house difficult).
Harli and Obi have participated in 2 awareness events. One they were featured in a local newspaper and then were
guest speakers at a Sheltered Workshop for challenged people. We discussed his work, how not to approach a service
dog in public as they are working and then allowed a small group to play and interact with him. It was a great
socialization time for him as well.
In the future plans after Harli graduates her and Obi will begin offering speaking engagements to local schools
educating children on working dogs, the rules, tasks and services they provide as well as becoming an active addition
to a local childrens residential facility as a 'therapy' partner to other children with special needs. These are things we
feel will be a great way for Harli to give back for being so blessed to be given Obi.
None of these things will be paid engagements but done voluntarily.
and let's not forget that Obi has also been a great conversation starter and ice breaker for Harli's extremely shy sister
Destini. She takes him on walks, roller blading and to the tennis courts for a rugged game of fetch...people are always
commenting on his beauty and asking her tons of questions which encourage her to socialize a bit more!
|Harli's sister, Destiny, with Puppy Obi
|Harli's and Obi
meet for the first
|Obi is a local celebrity!