Opie, Service Pup Piper & Girl

Opie: 3 year old retired service dog. Piper: 6 month old wirehaired vizsla future service dog. Our Girl: Joyfully living life with chronic illnesses.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wIfiyJL6wVQ&feature=share

432 posts 9,379 followers 861 following

“Loneliness says, “just you”; bravery says, “me too.”” Living with chronic illness is not easy. There are ups, downs, and the battle is different for everyone. Social media has connected many with others who have similar conditions when it can be hard to find others in “real life”. Fighting day in and out can be isolating when even in the same condition people’s symptoms and treatments can vary greatly. Having a community gather around to lift each other up and encourage people through their battles is priceless. Not all doctors are created equally and the process of finding the right fit for you or getting diagnosed can be frustrating. Talking to a friend and seeing how a treatment worked or effected them can be comforting. It is important to remember that just because someone’s treatment plan or path is different than yours, doesn’t make it wrong. This community and my experiences at Cleveland Clinic have impacted my life in such a positive way and I want everyone who is fighting to be able to have the same love and encouragement offered to them, I want them to know that although we may be fighting our own independent battle, together we can make it through. I am so excited to announce that if you live in SE Michigan and have a chronic or invisible illness there is now a place for you, Chronic Hope Club! Chronic Hope Club’s mission is to inspire hope and self care for the invisibly ill, regardless of diagnosis. Join us for a night of community, sharing, relaxation, rejuvenation. More details will be coming soon! #servicepuppiper #opietheservicedog #servicedogintraining #vizsla #vizslapuppy #wirehairedvizsla

18💬

Piper: I went on a trip to Home Depot today with my girl, Dad, and trainer. We focused on using my walk’ n train head halter while working. It is important that I get used to different dog training tools because with my girl’s muscle weakness we will always use one. I will have a perfectly good heel without the tool, but the tool assures my girl and trainer that if something happens my girl will be able to have the control she needs. My trainer said that for my first time going out with it, I did a great job! My girl got her new freestyle libre continuous glucose monitor! So far we do not miss all the pokes and love the added information it gives. The sensor in my girl’s arm did not hurt to insert, sleep in, or throughout the day. We have already learned a lot from this new tool including that my girl’s blood sugar is dropping into the 40s and 50s in her sleep. Now we have a plan to start teaching me to do hypoglycemia sleep alerts! I can’t wait to help my girl even more! #servicepuppiper #opietheservicedog #servicedogintraining #vizsla #vizslapuppy #wirehairedvizsla #hypoglycemia

17💬

Piper: Have you met my puzzles? The other day when talking about my problem solving skills we mentioned my puppy puzzles and got a lot of questions. I have been doing puzzles ever since I came home from the breeder’s house. I first started with the spinning star, then moved on to the purple bone lazy Susan, then I progressed to the block challenge, and finally recently I conquered the orange flap spinner. I rotate through all of these with each of my meals, so that I am always challenged. The different methods I must use to get food help develop my problem solving skills, which are necessary for being a medical alert service dog. I have to rely on my self to solve the puzzle and get no help from my family. When my girl passes out or is unable to think I have to take the lead and solve the puzzle of what to do, doing these puzzles is a great way to help achieve this. My girl has always made sure that I am doing puzzles that I can have fun solving, but that don’t frustrate me. Canine enrichment is supposed to be a fun time for dogs and my girl enjoys watching. Being a wirehaired vizsla puppy means that I have a lot of energy to burn every single day. When dogs train or do puzzles they burn through energy a lot faster than if they are exercising. I love to play with Opie, but my training and puzzles are the main outlet for burning my seemingly endless energy. After a puzzle and training session I love to nap for hours. Puzzles are a great way to enrich your dogs life and I hope you’ll give them a try too! #servicepuppiper #opietheservicedog #servicedogintraining #vizsla #vizslapuppy #canineenrichment #wirehairedvizsla

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Piper: It’s time for Medical Monday: rare disease month edition! My girl has a few rare diseases, but one that we have been mentioning lately is my girl’s carnitine deficiency. We found out after doing some blood work with the geneticist this summer that my girl was low in a couple different types of carnitine and in total free carnitine. Carnitine deficiency can be primary(occurring on its own) or secondary(being caused by something else), so far we are not sure which my girl’s is. When babies are born doctors do specific blood work to see if they have certain conditions and one of these is a carnitine test. Unfortunately, that test is not in my girl’s records, which leads her doctor to believe that it was not mandated in our state until after my girl was born. We have learned that it causes low blood sugar, confusion, vomiting, and muscle weakness. When you eat your body naturally uses carnitine to break down the fats in your diet and turn them into energy. My girl does not have enough carnitine which causes her to not properly absorb or use her foods. Today, my girl and I were working with my new head halter when we caught a hypoglycemia alert on film! My girl experiences low blood sugar commonly, which causes her body not to give her symptoms to let her know that her blood sugar is low. This makes my alerts very important. My girl manages her carnitine deficiency with supplements, corn starch, my alerts, and physical therapy. We are hopeful to keep learning more about my girl’s carnitine deficiency and what we can do to combat it! “When “I” is replaced by “we”, even illness becomes wellness”! #servicepuppiper #opietheservicedog #servicedogintraining #vizsla #vizslapuppy #wirehairedvizsla #carnitinedeficiency #hypoglycemia

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Piper: When life gives you lemons make lemonade! 🍋 An important trait for service dogs to have is problem solving and today I showed my girl how good of a problem solver I am! My girl was getting ready for the day in her bathroom and was using both hands to put on face lotion and makeup, when I noticed her sugar was dropping. My alert to tell my girl is touching her hand with my nose, but with her hands being way out of my reach I had a problem on my hands. I went and sat next to my girl and thought of how to get her attention. After a few seconds I started wagging my tail and started touching her thigh with my nose. Guess what, she got the message! We hurried downstairs where I got a lot of treats and pets while we found out that my girl’s sugar was officially low! Don’t worry I shared my victory treats with Opie who was napping happily in the sun. In real life there will be many challenging situations that present themselves, but if I use my brain like today I can get through them! From my first day home my girl has always had me do puppy puzzles a few times a day so that I can independently become confident in my problem solving skills. We are so excited to get my girl’s freestyle libre blood sugar monitor tomorrow and have another tool to keep her safe! #servicepuppiper #opietheservicedog #servicedogintraining #vizsla #vizslapuppy #wirehairedvizsla #hypoglycemia

22💬

Piper: Good news is my favorite news! My girl got back late last night from her trip to the Cleveland Clinic. While there she saw her endocrinologist and made big progress! My girl’s endocrinologist, Dr. Hatipoglu stops at nothing to help my girl. We found out that my girl’s carnitine deficiency is responsible for making her blood sugar so wacky! To help combat this my girl’s doctor has her drinking corn starch mixed with almond milk between meals and at bedtime to help keep her sugar from constantly crashing, but also to help my girl actually be able to absorb her food! My girl is also getting a freestyle libre continuous glucose monitor to help keep a closer eye on the numbers with less pricks. With this we can see trends in my girl’s sugar levels, if she is rising or falling, and what foods she is absorbing the best. These are going to make a big difference! My girl was also put back on her hormone replacement and had her potassium increased to help combat any potassium loss she may be experiencing from the meds. My girl’s other doctors have been pinning her jerking and starring off on her blood sugar and metabolic levels, but her endocrinologist disagreed and is sending my girl to an epilepsy specialist next Friday! She was confident that this was the cause, which makes complete sense due to how the episodes occur. Next week we will find out more and fill you all in along the way. PS if you have any freestyle libre experiences, coupon links, or tips we would love to here them! If you scroll to the next picture you get a sneak peek into part of our big project! #servicepuppiper #opietheservicedog #servicedogintraining #vizsla #vizslapuppy #wirehairedvizsla #hypoglycemia #carnitinedeficiency #epilepsy

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Piper: Happy year of the dog! The word associated with the year of the dog is action. I love to take action to help my girl, but sometimes my girl and others with disabilities need the community and lawmakers to take action to protect them too. This is why the American Disability act was created in 1990. The ADA is a civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in all areas of public life. The purpose of the law is to make sure that people with disabilities have the same rights, access, and opportunities as everyone else. Currently the HR 620 ADA Education and Reform act is challenging this. The reform act ends an important provision of the ADA by preventing people with disabilities from immediately going to court to enforce their rights and press for the timely removal of a barrier impeding access. Currently if a business is in violation of the ADA it is their problem and they will face consequences if changes are not made in a timely manner. The ADA has resources that can help big and small businesses make these changes. With the new provision the burden of proof falls to the disabled person who filed the violation. The disabled person now has to jump through many hoops to go to court and then only “substantial progress” is required instead of becoming entirely compliant with the ADA. Even with “substantial progress” there are no requirements that define what the business has to do to change things. This could include not having a handicap ramp, door button, rails, or accessible bathroom. With my girl being a wheelchair user, it is surprising how often this occurs in our world. While things like this may not seem like a big deal to some, they prevent access to many with various disabilities. Unfortunately this bill has already passed the House of Representatives, but you can still help by contacting your senator and telling them to vote no. #opietheservicedog #servicepuppiper #servicedogintraining #vizsla #vizslapuppy #wirehairedvizsla

17💬

Happy half off candy day! To celebrate Opie and I got some @zukespets mini hearts that were peanut butter and cherry flavored! Since Opie didn’t feel like getting his picture taken today, I really hammed it up! When my girl pulls out the camera I know it means treats, so I do the cutest thing I can think of. I mean who doesn’t want to see a puppy cuddling treats? Today my girl had a lot of work for her online class, which meant that while she was working I was not her number one focus. To help her do well I was a good boy napping and playing by her, I even brought her some random presents! My girl was very proud that I came up to smell her mouth to check for alerts almost every ten minutes! She could finally concentrate on school and not have to think about monitoring her health! She says that I am already such a big help everyday! We wanted to thank everyone for all the lovely comments yesterday! We are so lucky to have each and every one of you with us on this journey! #servicepuppiper #opietheservicedog #servicedogintraining #vizsla #vizslapuppy #wirehairedvizsla #model

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Love. It’s what Valentine’s Day is all about. Love can be hard when living with chronic illness. Often your future is uncertain and your health is even less certain than that. You hear things from the people surrounding you or doctors that may make you question love deep down. Maybe your condition is visible, maybe you wear a mask, use a wheelchair, or have a service dog. Inside you might think, “will anyone ever truly love me?” or, “could my companionship and loyalty to someone ever mean more to than my ability to live a “normal” life?”. If you think or feel any of this you are not alone. More than 1 in 5 adults live life with a chronic illness and many are having the same thoughts. The truth is that your ability to love or be loved is not dependent on the health of your body. Life is full of ups and downs, life does not move at the same pace for everyone. Your best friend may have been engaged at 21 and you might not even have a significant other. It is okay to feel any or all of this. At the end of the day no one has the answers to those questions. Take a deep breath and relax. Someday you will find that person because you are enough. Today you can find that same love in a lunch with a friend, a tail wag and adoring eyes from your pet, a call from your mom, or a card from your sister. Take all that love that you find in the folds of daily life and surround yourself in its warmth. Happy Valentine’s Day. #servicepuppiper #opietheservicedog #servicedogintraining #vizsla #vizslapuppy #wirehairedvizsla #chronicillness #peoplehopetribe

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Opie: Piper mastered pivot! Piper and my girl have been working very hard on pivot and the concept clicked for Piper this week! It has been exciting this to watch Piper suddenly grasp onto a lot of different commands! Pivot is a very important one because it teaches Piper to learn how to move his back legs independently. His pivot command will be used in the future to move fluidly next to my girl, work next to her wheelchair, and learn some pretty awesome trick dog stunts! My girl found out today that this spring she will get to learn how to be a service dog trainer with Michigan Service Dogs! She has always had a passion for working with dogs and we can’t wait for this adventure to begin! #servicepuppiper #opietheservicedog #servicedogintraining #vizsla #vizslapuppy #wirehairedvizsla

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Piper: I’m so excited, it’s time for another medical monday! My girl has been mentioning Sjögren’s a lot lately and we thought it was about time that we explained what is going on. Sjögren’s syndrome is an autoimmune condition where the immune system attacks the moisture and mucus creating glands. It commonly occurs in women around the age of forty and causes dry eyes and mouth. It can also cause damage to the nervous system, kidneys, lungs, skin, and other organs. My girl found out she has Sjögren’s by having a salivary gland scintigraphy or scan done along with the finding of certain neurological antibodies. My girl’s doctors believe that her hashimotos’s thyroiditis(an autoimmune thryroid condition) was the cause of her Sjögren’s. Her doctors do not believe that Sjögren’s is the cause of my girl’s dysautonomia, but we do know that it does cause her dysautonomia to be worse by attacking her nervous system. She has had mouth and eyelid ulcers, the hallmark dryness of the syndrome, renal tubular acidosis that has caused low sodium, chloride, and potassium, and nervous system involvement from her Sjögren’s. My girl was only diagnosed with this last summer, so we still have a lot to learn about this disorder and a better treatment plan to find! #servicepuppiper #opietheservicedog #servicedogintraining #vizsla #vizslapuppy #wirehairedvizsla #sjogrens #autoimmunedisease

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Piper: Sunday evenings are for snuggles! My girl has a busy week coming up, where we will hopefully get some questions answered. This week has some very important appointments for my girl. When my girl saw the nephrologist last month she learned that she had renal tubular acidosis in her kidneys that stems from her Sjögren’s syndrome. Renal tubular acidosis for my girl is the cause of her continuous electrolyte imbalances and kidney stones she has had in the past. One of the medicines that her endocrinologist had her on can make electrolyte imbalances worse, so the nephrologist stopped it. This week my girl will hopefully learn of other ways to replace the hormone that her body isn’t making and get some new ideas on how to control her blood sugar that aren’t puppy powered. I love helping my girl by alerting to low blood sugar, but sometimes having another tool to lighten my work load is good. Onwards and upwards! #servicepuppiper #opietheservicedog #servicedogintraining #vizsla #vizslapuppy #wirehairedvizsla

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Opie: If you have been following our story for a while it probably isn’t hard to tell that my girl is a positive person(maybe even overly positive if you ask her sister or some of her doctors). Today we thought we would share one of her tricks to living life in a positive way. Living with chronic illness every day, in and out, can sometimes make even the most positive person a bit worn down. Maybe it’s because my girl has passed out and has memory loss or maybe it’s because she didn’t get the grade she wanted on that quiz. Everyone has things that can bug them and bring them down in daily life. To combat that my girl tries to always appreciate the little things in life, take time to smile, and find things to laugh about everyday. Sometimes it is the beautiful way the snow is floating down outside and other days it is the way I lick water off Piper after he takes a shower(he is my baby after all!). If you combine the busy world we live in with all the news people are inundated with daily, it is easy to see why people can be unhappy. Maybe next time try slowing down our hurried world to look out the window and appreciate the beauty of life or give your puppy a good cleaning behind the ears, either way we guarantee it will brighten your day! We have some big things coming your way in the next couple weeks and can’t wait to share them with you! #opietheservicedog #servicepuppiper #servicedogintraining #vizsla #vizslapuppy #wirehairedvizsla #labsofinstagram #positivethinking #peoplehopetribe

17💬

Piper: Work hard, play hard! I may love to work, but I also love to play hard. You can find me spending time everyday playing with Opie, chasing Boo, tearing apart toys, playing tug, fetch, or catch. We have been working lately on my girl planting alert scents while I am playing, so that we know that no matter what may be happening or how distracting it is that my girl can always count on me to keep her safe. Today I did just that! My girl was playing with Opie and me when I smelled her low blood sugar and alerted! At first my girl thought it could be part of my play, but my persistence paid off! My girl first had Opie trained as a hypoglycemia alert dog because of her hypoglycemic unawareness and because her sugar was quickly diving into the 20s and 30s. Blood sugar levels that low would cause her to go into sugar comas that she had be given certain types of sugar to bring her back. Thankfully with our alerts that has stopped happening and our new goal is to help our girl spend as little time in hypoglycemia as possible. My big goal is to alert my girl at 80 so that she has plenty of time to find something to treat with that will work that day. This evening I did just that and kept my girl safe! #servicepuppiper #opietheservicedog #servicedogintraining #hypoglycemia #vizsla #vizslapuppy #wirehairedvizsla

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Piper: Fish are friends, not food! Today I went on my first big outing to @bassproshops at @greatlakescrossingoutlets ! Bass Pro Shop is pet friendly and Great Lakes Crossing is service dog in training friendly, which is nice because in the state of Michigan service dogs in training have no access rights. Bass Pro Shop had a lot of new sights, sounds, and smells that I adjusted to quickly. I worked on heeling, heeling next to a wheelchair, crowds, commands, and screaming children. My trainer and girl were proud that I worked for an entire hour! I kept checking back in with my girl every few minutes to make sure I did not need to alert. Even being a pup I still know what my number one priority is! We are looking forward to many more adventures in the coming months! #servicepuppiper #opietheservicedog #servicedogintraining #vizsla #vizslapuppy #wirehairedvizsla

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Opie: Everyone needs a break and that includes Piper! Today after going on a training outing, working with our trainer, alerting my girl, and romping with me, Piper was due for a big nap. After today my girl was ready for a nap too! Her neurologist told her she needed to see a primary care doctor for an ulcer that after seeing it in a message, he knew was from her Sjögren’s syndrome. Unfortunately my girl’s new primary and her previous primary are both out of town, which meant she had to see someone else. This doctor did admit she had looked up Sjögren’s before walking in the door, but dismissed my girl and her neurologist’s diagnosis and plan saying that all it was, was a simple canker sore. Unfortunately, doing nothing about a Sjögren’s flare will not stop my girl’s immune system from attacking her and causing a host of symptoms including this ulcer. Thankfully, my girl has other friends with Sjögren’s who helped her today, including @cece_getyoursicktogether ! My girl is so thankful for her chronic illness friends who are always there for each other even when medical professionals are not! #servicepuppiper #opietheservicedog #servicedogintraining #vizsla #vizslapuppy #wirehairedvizsla #sjogrens #autoimmunedisease

18💬

Piper: Yesterday was my girl’s birthday! For her birthday her room is being made allergy friendly for her mast cell activation syndrome! Her carpet was replaced with hard floor and her walls are painted with certified allergy and asthma friendly paint! We are all excited to see her room start coming together, look for a picture in the next couple of weeks with the finished product! My girl’s big surprise was her sister, Genna driving home through a snowstorm to get dinner with us before the Super Bowl! In our house we celebrate birthday week. When living with a chronic progressive illness, we never know what or when the next big twist or turn will be. Instead of living in fear or being sad, my girl chooses to live joyfully and be thankful for each day. This has lead to everyone in our family having a birthday week celebration instead of just one day. My girl had a great day and we can’t wait to see what the rest of Birthday week has in store for us! #servicepuppiper #opietheservicedog #servicedogintraining #vizsla #vizslapuppy #wirehairedvizsla

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Opie: Piper is six months old!! It is crazy to think that he has only been with our family for four months! In those four months Piper has learned four medical alerts to help my girl including cardiac, hypoglycemia, allergic reaction, and most recently when my girl stops breathing(more on that another day)! Piper has also picked up a few funny habits recently including laying with his butt on pillows and farting in people’s face! He also loves to go into the corners of the shower to make funny snorting noises! I guess with great genius also comes great mischief! #servicepuppiper #opietheservicedog #servicedogintraining #vizsla #vizslapuppy #wirehairedvizsla

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Piper: “Splish splash I’m taking a bath! Long about a Saturday night!” When my girl takes a shower I have been trained to stay in the bathroom with my mom to monitor my girl because showering is one of the most dangerous activities for my girl. She has passed out in the shower many times from her dysautonomia and each time is just as scary and dangerous. I on the other hand have come to love shower time. I am known to jump into the shower with my girl sometimes for alerts and sometimes for fun. Today was purely for fun! I got in there and sat under the shower with my eyes closed for at least ten minutes! My girl had a fun time watching me relax in the shower and Mom didn’t have to worry because I was there! What is the funniest habit your dog has? #servicepuppiper #opietheservicedog #servicedogintraining #vizsla #vizslapuppy #wirehairedvizsla

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Piper: This evening my girl has been down and out with a migraine, but we still got a lot done today! We did homework, emails, work on a big new project, training, physical therapy practice, and even some light cleaning(don’t worry we took some naps too)! I had some big light bulb moments today with training as you can see in the video of me practicing my pivot! My girl is excited with how well my pivot is progressing. My pivot helps me learn rear end awareness. This is especially important because us puppies don’t know we have back legs! Pivot will help me be able to move fluidly with my girl in public and is the basis for a lot of fun tricks to come! After a training session my girl and I always celebrate with a fun game and today it was some high flying catch! Can you guess what Dog sport my girl thinks I will be a natural at because of this? #servicepuppiper #opietheservicedog #servicedogintraining #vizsla #vizslapuppy #wirehairedvizsla

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Piper: Sometimes a day living with chronic illness can be both scary and miraculous. This morning my girl’s oxygen was in the 50’s, her heart rate at 200, and she passed out. Thankfully I alerted her several minutes before. When I alerted my girl, she was in a range normal for her, but she heeded my warning and laid down. As we all know things continued to get worse, but at least I kept her from getting hurt. After that my girl had physical therapy, where her physical therapist had her take it easy today with her heart rate ranging from the 30s to the 180s and oxygen still low. After that something miraculous happened! With everything going on my mom and girl decided that they should still give chair yoga a shot this week. As always my girl gave it her all and at the end she was feeling a lot better. Her doctor was curious and decided to run some tests. After chair yoga today my girl had the most energy she has ever had on the test, her chakras were 92% in line, and her resting pulse was back down to 80! We call that a miracle! My girl is so excited that doing chair yoga has helped her parasympathetic nervous system regain some balance in her body and I’m glad to have another tool in my corner. We know that neither I, nor any of my girl’s tools or medicines alone are the fix, but hopefully together we can give her a great quality of life. Together we will always persevere! #servicepuppiper #opietheservicedog #servicedogintraining #vizsla #vizslapuppy #wirehairedvizsla

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Piper: Maybe if I don’t look at the treats they will disappear! Today, I worked with my trainer and girl on obedience work. These commands are important for every dog to know, but for a service dog they are extra important. Everyone loves that I am persistent with my alerts, but they don’t love that same persistence with counter surfing or begging. We worked on my leave it command, counter surfing, and my back command. It is important to have a good leave it as a service dog because I can’t eat any food that falls on the floor in restaurants, stores, or the movies. Food is right up there with my girl and balls in my favorite things. As you can see the new techniques seem to be working! We also went to Home Depot, where I made my trainer proud by regularly checking back in on my girl’s scents. Big noise, nor smell can keep me from saving my girl! #servicepuppiper #opietheservicedog #servicedogintraining #vizsla #vizslapuppy #wirehairedvizsla

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Piper: You got a friend in me! Today, Nanny’s physical therapist came over to help get Nanny back to tippy top shape. Her physical therapist happened to be friends with my girl’s godmother and is one of our followers! After Nanny got done with her session my girl and I came down and practiced meeting new people. I had so much fun meeting her, showing off my tricks, and only let out a couple excited barks. As a service dog it is important for me to ignore others and to focus on my job, but it is equally important right now that I lean that strangers are nice. We are very thankful to the physical therapist for taking the time to give us a helping hand with this. My girl was proud that I said hi calmly and then was ready to do my tricks when she asked me to. What can I say, she will always be my number 1! #servicepuppiper #opietheservicedog #servicedogintraining #vizsla #vizslapuppy #wirehairedvizsla

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Piper: It’s a snow day! My girl has loved playing in the snow ever since she was little,but always has had a hard time with the cold. This is from several of her conditions, but today for medical Monday we are going to talk about a chronic illness that effects 5-10% of Americans called Reynaulds phenomenon. Reynaulds is normally triggered by cold which causes episodes of the blood vessels narrowing that leave little or no blood to flow to the affected areas. For my girl this can be toes, fingers, nose, ears, or lips. Normally the area affected will turn white/blue and go numb, then when blood starts to return it will tingle, turn red, and sometimes can be a bit painful. People can have primary Reynaulds or like my girl they can have secondary Reynaulds that is caused by another condition. To help my girl with this I’m taking a page from Opie’s book and learning to warm her up! Much like deep pressure therapy I lay on the part affected and share my puppy furnace heat! #opietheservicedog #servicepuppiper #servicedogintraining #vizsla #vizslapuppy #wirehairedvizsla #reynauds

18💬

Piper: Today my girl, Mom, and I went on an adventure! They have taken me to the state boat launch before, but the cold weather and my girl’s chronic illnesses don’t mix so we haven’t been back lately. Today, with the warm weather we ventured back to the boat launch and learned about ice, ice fishing, winter smells, and people. I loved learning about all of the new sounds, textures, and smells and wasn’t even a bit scared. My girl and I explored the ice and I even practiced some simple commands out there! As a service dog it is important to like trying new things and always be able to adapt to the situation. I love to eat ice cubes, but I have never been on top of one before! If you haven’t tried it yet I would highly recommend it. #servicepuppiper #opietheservicedog #servicedogintraining #vizsla #vizslapuppy #wirehairedvizsla

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Opie: When considering what breed of dog to choose as my successor, my girl and trainer had a list of qualities that they were looking for(it was a mile long). One thing that they wanted was a dog that had high drive so that it could keep up with all the tasks and alerts my girl needs, but also a dog that had a great on/off switch. This means that if my girl has a busy day the new dog would be able to keep up with her, but if she was having one of our many rest days the new dog would be just as happy cuddling at her side. The wirehaired vizsla is known for having both of these traits and today Piper was the definition of this. At only five months old he spent the entire day happily cuddling, as my girl got some much needed rest. He stayed on top of his hypoglycemia, cardiac, and mast cell activation alerts and kept my girl safe! I had the happiest and most well behaved day I have had since I started having seizures. My girl thinks this could mean my new treatment might be working! #opietheservicedog #servicepuppiper #servicedogintraining #vizsla #vizslapuppy #wirehairedvizsla #labsofinstagram

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Piper: It is important in life to lend a helping hand or paw when others need it. My Nanny(my girl’s grandma) has been feeling pretty crummy since taking a couple of spills recently. This landed her in the hospital this week where doctors were a bit puzzled initially as to what could be wrong. While Nanny was at home I was very focused on her and gave a couple of cardiac alerts, which hinted to my girl that something autonomic could be wrong. The doctors at the hospital were throwing out a lot of diagnosis’s that just didn’t match up with what had had happened to Nanny. After making a list of all of Nanny’s symptoms my girl immediately realized that the list resembled how she feels commonly and pulled out her flash drive from the Dysautonomia International Conference last summer. My girl’s suspicions were correct, Nanny’s symptoms matched up with post concussive dysautonomia. My girl and Mom made sure they were at the hospital bright and early when the doctors made rounds. My girl presented all the information she had learned to the doctors and advocated for Nanny. Today, Nanny got to come home and the doctors after many discussions and tests agreed with my girl! Nanny had post concussive dysautonomia along with dehydration! It is so important to be educated and advocate for yourself and family members to doctors. At the end of the day you know yourself or your family member the best. #servicepuppiper #opietheservicedog #servicedogintraining #vizsla #vizslapuppy #wirehairedvizsla #dysautonomia

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Piper: Practice makes permanent! My girl and I practice planted hypoglycemia and cardiac alerts everyday so that when they happen I am ready to respond. Opie decided to join us the other day during practice and we all had a fun afternoon practice session. It is important that my nose is in peak condition so that I always can tell my scents apart and give my girl the correct alert. I have also been practicing going to alert my mom with the correct alert after I alert my girl, so that someday I can go get help when I need to. It’s a big job, but some puppy has to do it! #servicepuppiper #opietheservicedog #servicedogintraining #vizsla #vizslapuppy #wirehairedvizsla #hypoglycemia #hypoglycemiaalert

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Piper: Does it look like I’m snuggling? I’m actually working! Seconds before this I gave my girl a cardiac alert to let her know that her heart rate is high from her POTS(postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome) or hereditary dysautonomia. I’m learning that after I alert I should immediately lay on my girl to provide deep pressure therapy. Deep pressure therapy occurs when I apply weight to my girl which triggers her body to increase parasympathetic nervous system function(part of her autonomic nervous system). Her increased parasympathetic nervous system function helps to regulate her heart rate, blood pressure, and digestion. This helps my girl’s dysfunctional autonomic nervous system which can keep her from passing out. Even if it looks like I am cuddling I am working hard to help my girl!(please disregard the mess, we are redoing my girl’s bedroom to decrease mast cell activation syndrome allergic reactions.) #opietheservicedog #servicepuppiper #servicedogintraining #vizsla #vizslapuppy #wirehairedvizsla

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Opie: For our second Medical Monday I thought I would talk about my chronic illness. If you have been following our story you know that I was a very happy and healthy service dog for my girl until one night when I started having seizures. I kept having them which led to a vet visit, an emergency vet visit, mri, and a spinal tap. I had the tests to find out what was causing my seizures and we found that I had high eosinophil levels in my blood, but also in my spinal fluid. The vet explained that this most likely meant that I had autoimmune eosinophilic meningitis that was causing me to have canine epilepsy. To treat this along with my anticonvulsant medications I was put on a high dose of steroids. They helped lower my levels a little bit, but I was miserable from the side effects and so was my family. I was still having seizures and throwing up at 3 am every night. My vet took over and decided to give me a break from the steroids for a bit. My seizures crept back into my life more and were making me very anxious. I have several different types of seizures including tonic clonic(jerking), absent seizures where I freeze and stare off, and a barking seizure where I forget my family, and my eyes turn blue as if it were sunny(these are the most common). We have added anti anxiety pills because being able to smell your own seizures coming is stressful and because being overwhelmed is a trigger for my seizures. My vet this week started me on immunosuppressants called cyclosporine and my girl says I am handling it like a superhero. My family is seeing bits and pieces of the old me, but when I get sleepy the pills can make me grumpy and easy to startle. After a month of these we are hoping my levels will be lower and my seizures will be less! Wish me luck! #opietheservicedog #servicepuppiper #servicedogintraining #blacklab #labsofinstagram #epilepsy #canineepilepsy #autoimmunedisease

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