Friday 26 March is Purple Day for Epilepsy Awareness

Angela, a Nambour RSL Club member, writes about her son Will and his assistance dog Tallis.

Tallis is an exceptionally large 4-year-old black Labradoodle. He joined our family on 15 September 2017, after a huge fundraising effort by a lot of people (Team Will) to raise the $20,000 needed.

The people of the Sunshine Coast, businesses, and clubs rallied around us after reading Will’s story. We raised $27,000 in 7 months. How amazing is our community?!

A big thank you to Nambour RSL who have committed to sponsor Tallis for 5 years with vet and food bills.

Tallis was trained by Smart Pups specifically for the assistance his boy would need. Trainer Jane spent 2 years training Tallis to perform numerous tasks, both as an assistance dog and an Autism assistance dog. Smart Pups had to find just the right sort of dog for the many tasks that would be needed. They found that in the amazing Tallis.

Tallis is trained for:

*Seizure alert – he will alert to seizure activity or a pending seizure

*Blood sugar alerts – he alerts to blood sugar drops

*Interrupting and alerting to shutdowns – by following specific commands for what is needed at the time

*Stops Will from running away – Tallis will sit if Will tries to run or has a panic attack. Will is tethered to Tallis with a special harness

*Tracking – on command Tallis will track Will if he’s hiding or wandered off (which happens a lot of the time)

*Assistance with picking up things from lower heights or the floor if Will is in his wheelchair

*Assists to get into and out of the car

*Opens and closes doors and drawers

*Presses the buttons on elevators, doorbells and any other buttons that need pressing.

When Will is having an exceedingly difficult time with seizures and anxiety then Tallis is the one that makes life easier for him. Hospital visits are made so much easier. Tallis is there beside his boy calming him through all the medical procedures.

Will and Tallis have such a close bond, they have their own special way of communicating.

The difference Tallis has made to me personally has been amazing. I can now go to the shops, go out and socialise, and all the things we tend to take for granted. Before Tallis I was basically isolated because Will’s anxiety is so severe I had to avoid big places, including the supermarket.

A lot of people don’t see Tallis in action, which I personally am pleased about, because if Tallis is working then it’s usually a medical or sensory emergency.

The trainers, foster carers, and everyone involved in the training don’t often get to see the difference their hard work and dedication means to a family such as ours.

Thank you Smart Pups, trainers, and foster carers from one very grateful family.

The biggest thanks goes to Smart Pup Tallis for his dedication and the love he shows his boy every day.

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