Photo Credit: Joanne Newborn

Ivor has uncontrolled Epilepsy and one of the best ways to monitor it, is with the help of a Seizure Alert Dog – After 2 years of waiting, Ivor finally got his best friend Cairo.


South Africa (13 February 2023) – Ivor was diagnosed with Epilepsy at a young age. His condition means seizured can come on at any point and the best way to manage them, is a little head start before they happen. To do this, Ivor’s mom Joanne Newborn started raising funds to get him a Seizure Alert Dog. She launched the crowdfunding campaign in the hope of getting Ivor his very own companion and alert dog.

Ivor has uncontrolled epilelipsy and while he is on medication to keep it under control, he does suffer from severe seizures, especially while sleeping. Doctors felt the best support the family could employ, would be to get a medical assist dog,

Joanne needed to raise R50,000 to cover the cost of the specialised dog. Launching the fund in mid 2021, Joanne has been moved by how many dedicated people helped get her son the help he needs to live a full life.

Ivor now has his Seizure Alert Dog named Cairo. Cairo was trained by Lucy Breytenbach at Honey’s Garden for Medical Alert Dogs. She specialises in this field and is currently the only fully accredited trainer in South Africa. Working with Cairo over the last two years, she has taught him everything he would need to know, to identify a seizure but he had never actually sensed or seen one until he got to meet Ivor.

One of the steps in getting a medical alert dog, is a workshop that runs for two weeks, where the alert dog is then trained to become atuned to the needs of their human and the humans learn all the vital commands and training too. They bond and the hope is that the animal can then pick up the subtle signs and signals when help is needed. In Cario’s case, he picked it up almost immediatly.

“Just two days into the workshop with Cairo and Ivor, Cairo alerted to Ivor having a seizure in his sleep last night! Well done Cairo! Even with all the training, we could not be certain that Cairo would be able to recognize a seizure, yet he has done it! This is exactly what we were hoping for! After Cairo alerted, Ivor could immediately be given medication to help with the seizure and his breathing was monitored until he had recovered.” – Joanne Newborn

Children like Ivor are finding great comfort in their medical alert pets but parents are by far the most relieved as the animals take a great deal of stress off their shoulders. We previously shared Jenna-Mae’s story and how she finally got a Diabetic Alert Dog to aid in her living with Type 1 Diabetes.

What does it entail to get a specialised therapy/medical dog? We have a detailed post here featuring Honey’s Garden for Medical Alert Dogs.

Honey’s Garden for Medical Alert Dogs trains Diabetic Alert Dogs, Seizure Response Dogs, Psychiatric Service Dogs, Hearing Dogs for the Deaf, Multi-Purpose Assistance Dogs and Emotional Support Dogs.

Sources: Joanne Supplied
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About the Author

Tyler Leigh Vivier is a writer for Good Things Guy.

Her passion is to spread good news across South Africa with a big focus on environmental issues, animal welfare and social upliftment. Outside of Good Things Guy, she is an avid reader and lover of tea.

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