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Dog Alarm For Narcoleptics

Alarm DogHave you caught yourself dozing off when riding the bus, and heaving that sigh of relief when you wake up just in the nick of time to make it to your stop? This probably happens to plenty of us, but imagine instantly falling asleep once you hit that seat and falling into a deep slumber for the next sixteen hours. You wake up disoriented and not sure where you even started. Not possible? Unfortunately, for some it's a battle they deal with every day of their lives.

Narcolepsy, affecting an estimated 200,000 Americans, (though only 50,000 have actually been diagnosed) puts a damper on both the social and work lives of those hit by this condition. Even with medication, narcoleptics still find themselves fighting to stay awake during the most simple tasks.

However, human's best friend once again comes to the rescue. Most recently Dr. Olivier Le Bon from Tivoli Hospital in La Louviere and his team teamed up with the animal charity Coeur a Coeur, to put the alarm-clock dog into play.

First training a pooch to wake up their narcoleptic masters in the morning at the sound of an alarm clock, they progressively learn to wake their sleepy friends at the sound of a mobile phone ringing. Over time, these cunning canines can wake their dozing patients when necessary at every metro, tram, or bus station. Missing a stop has definitely become a thing of the past.

Whether nipping them at the ankles, nudging them with their muzzle, or giving a little yelp, trained dogs have become a narcoleptic's reliable companion. Falling asleep is no longer a dreaded worry; they now can live close to normal independent lives as they travel around the city with ease, meet up with friends, and make it to work on time, alongside a buddy who'll always be there to give them that wake-up-call.

Dr. Le Bon's solution has spread around the narcoleptic community, and he now has a following of patients ready to jump on the alarm-clock dog band wagon.

"I have met several other patients with sleep disorders who are interested in our success, and the charity Coeur a Coeur has agreed to do the training," he said.

Here's to our furry friends giving us a second chance on life!

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