Dogs are amazing animals. There is no end to what they can be trained to do. From bomb sniffing in the military, to drug sniffers in the police, to even sniffing out bed bugs, dog can have numerous jobs. Now there is a dog that will wake its sleepy owner.
Researchers in Belgium showed how a dog can help a 35-year-old patient with severe excessive daytime sleepiness. She suffered sleep attacks up to six times a day and sometimes slept up to 16 hours a day.
Until recently, this severe sleepiness considerably hampered her social life and limited her use of public transport, as she usually fell asleep within a few minutes of sitting down.
She’d then wake up at the end of the line and have to fight sleepiness on the way back. Sometimes she’d forget where she started.
Medication had only a limited effect, so the patient was put in contact with a charity that provides trained dogs for people with visual or hearing impairment. A dog was first trained to wake the patient in the morning at the sound of an alarm clock, even if this sometimes required 30 minutes of gentle biting.
The dog then learnt to wake the patient at the sound of the mobile phone ringing. Eventually, he learnt to wake her up, if necessary, at every metro, tram, or bus station.
This animal companionship has allowed our patient to move around the city efficiently and carry on a social life, say the authors. “The intervention could benefit other patients with similarly extreme and treatment resistant daytime sleepiness,” they conclude.
As for me, I am always sleepy. Hell I could fall asleep right now. Maybe I should train my dog to keep me awake so that my job would let me take her in with me.