Rhino the Apache Warrior — Service

Location: Grand Junction, Colorado

I have worked more than 30yrs as a 1st Responder & Nurse Practitioner. 04/19/1995, I responded to the OKC bombing & my life changed forever.
In 2017, I woke up in a hospital after suffering a severe seizure causing a TBI, broken jaw, dental fractures & other injuries. That “woke up” the epilepsy I was diagnosed with in 2013 and re-ignited seizures I hadn’t experienced in years.
Following those injuries, with months of therapies that helped me heal, the seizures only increased. I don’t have typical auras that warn of seizures. That leaves me vulnerable to serious injury. I became a prisoner in my own home.
In 2018, I was paired with my hero from Guardian Angels Medical Service Dogs. He senses oncoming seizures & is trained to alert me with cues. He will circle me & whine. If that doesn’t work, he’ll “herd” me to a safer place & his whine becomes a persistent bark. If I miss his cues, he’ll physically sit me down.
He places his head between my head & the floor, protecting my brain by absorbing the blows. He ensures I’m on my side with my airway open. When convulsions stop, I’m confused and he calmly licks to orient me to where I am & let me know I’m not alone. In his vest, he carries meds. If we’re @ home & his vest isn’t on, he’ll retrieve my meds & phone for me. I wear a emergency necklace w/a 2-way mic. that he’s trained to deploy. He saves my life regularly. Having him beside me keeps me safe and has restored my hope. I never have to have a seizure alone again.