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He stands about six inches tall, and he weighs 15 pounds, but don’t let his size fool you. Sammi is a big little dog.
He’s not your typical super hero, but Sammi came to the rescue for Kathy Harvey and her son Kyle three years ago, and now, he’s part of the family.
Kyle, 22, is autistic. In addition, he began to have unrelated seizures more than three years ago. Kathy said that was when she became concerned for his safety. Kyle had wanted a dog, but Kathy never imagined that a dog would be able to help with Kyle’s seizures.
After having bad luck in the dog search, Kathy said she looked on the Web site petfinder.com. She saw a dog that looked like the perfect fit, but when she called the lady at Frankfort’s Pawsabilities Unleashed, she was told the dog had been adopted, but there was another dog that would be perfect.
“She said she had a dog that would be perfect for us, and when we got there, Kyle picked out the same dog she had suggested. We just wanted a pet, but we got Sammi,” Kathy said.
Sammi is an 8-year-old Dachschund, and the Harveys got him from Pawsabilities Unleashed, a Frankfort-based rescue center that trains dogs to be service dogs. Sammi was abandoned at the center by a family that no longer wanted him.
Not only is Sammi a special gift for the Harveys, but he has a special ability to know when Kyle is going to have a seizure. Kathy said he was specially trained at Pawsabilities Unleashed, and has since alerted her of a seizure 10 minutes before it began.
“He started barking and running between the two of us. I wondered why he was acting so funny, but I realized he was trying to tell me something,” Kathy explained. “He’s trained to get help before the seizure. The whole purpose of knowing the seizure is coming is to get the person to sit down so they don’t fall and get hurt. If I hadn’t known and been standing there, Kyle would have fallen and could have hurt his head.”
With all of his training, Sammi is still just a normal dog at heart. He enjoys walks around Springfield, and Kathy said he loves to see people along the way, and they enjoy seeing him, too.
“When we’re walking and we see people, he heads right for them,” Kathy said. “He loves attention from people, and the kids in the neighborhood just love him. I would have never thought a small dog like Sammi could be a service dog.”
For more information on Pawsabilities Unleashed, visit www.pawsabilitiesunleashed.org on the Internet.