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Service Dogs and Traumatic Brain Injuries

DogAlthough many traumatic brain injury sufferers recover after a matter of months or years, others live with lifelong complications. In these instances, victims may experience cognitive or coordination issues, mood swings, and difficulties with memory or concentration. Dizziness and fainting are also common. Service dogs may be able to help.

Service Dog is Helping TBI Sufferer With Fainting Spells

New York ABC recently shared a story about a woman and her dog. The woman, a New York resident, had suffered a traumatic brain injury five years prior. To this day, she passes out from the residual effects of her injury – sudden brain bleeds that continue to occur, despite having three separate surgeries. When they occur, she suffers from seizures and syncope (passes out). Her faithful dog, Colt, has been trained to alert her before these episodes occur.

If the woman is about to experience the medical event, the dog notifies her by licking her hand. This warning gives her the time she needs to call medical responders and lay down to prevent any further injuries. Once the attack starts, the dog then lays on her, applying deep pressure until she wakes up. The woman says he has not only enriched her life by being there with her through the therapies and treatments, but he has also saved it.

Obtaining a Service Dog

Purchasing a service dog is not the same as going to a pet store or the humane shelter to find a pet. Certainly, you could attempt to have your own dog trained to become a service dog, but not all dogs are suited for service animal work. Some may become irritable, unhappy, or even aggressive from the work. Furthermore, it can take up to two years to train a service dog. As such, it may be better to find an already trained, public-access-dog who is prepared to assist with your condition.

Note that you should choose a program that gives you time to interact with the dog so that it can start to understand your “baseline” – or what you are like when you are not experiencing a TBI episode. This aspect of the training is not as long or grueling as the initial service dog training, but it is just as critical. It is also important that you take the time to understand your state, county, and city laws regarding pets; though it is unlikely that you would ever have to go to court for a service dog, it is best to err on the side of caution.

Could Compensation Help pay for Your Service Animal?

While not all traumatic brain injury victims are entitled to compensation, those that were injured in an auto accident, work injury, or other situation involving negligence may be eligible. This money could help pay for your service dog and your medical bills from the injury. Learn more about how to pursue compensation by contacting the San Jose traumatic brain injury lawyers at Corsiglia, McMahon & Allard, LLP. Call (408) 289-1417 today.

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I suffered a severe spinal injury while working as a farm mechanic in the Salinas Valley. The attorneys -Tim McMahon and Mark Sigala were fantastic from the beginning. They fought for me over 3 long years and in the end, we won a difficult liability case against the farm company who was using dangerous equipment. The defendants in the case tried everything to put the blame on me and even claimed I was their employee in order to avoid civil responsibility. Tim and Mark never gave up on me and my case. I cannot recommend them highly enough. They are fighters. Adrian A.
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