Child to Receive Seizure Assistance Dog

Mar 22, 2011, 09:41 ET from 4 Paws for Ability

Everyday activities pose a risk for Oliver Kurlinski, a 4-year-old boy with epilepsy. Help is on its way, however, in the form of a specially-trained dog who will offer therapeutic companionship while keeping Oliver safe and enhancing his independence.

DALLAS, March 22, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- On August 23, 2010, while opening presents on his fourth birthday, Oliver Kurlinski suddenly collapsed and was rushed by ambulance to the hospital. After a week in the hospital and many tests, Oliver was diagnosed with epilepsy, a brain disorder that causes recurring seizures and affects approximately three million people in the United States.

Adapting to his illness provides unique challenges to Oliver's family because he has different kinds of seizures, some big and some small. Some of his seizures can be so subtle that even a trained observer has difficulty recognizing them. During his seizures, Oliver loses consciousness and is unable to move or speak but may only appear to be daydreaming. Every day activities such as climbing, going down a slide, bathing, swimming, or even eating can become dangerous as a seizure can cause him to fall, become immobilized in water, or choke.

The family recently received news that they would be getting help from an unexpected source—a dog. 4 Paws for Ability, a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization, recently selected Oliver to receive a seizure assistance dog, which will dramatically improve Oliver's life by restoring his independence.

These amazing dogs are specially-trained to assist during and following a seizure. Oliver's dog will:

  • Alert his parents when he's having a seizure
  • Roll Oliver onto his side during a seizure, so he does not choke
  • Block Oliver from walking into dangerous situations (traffic) during a seizure
  • Track Oliver so he can receive life-saving treatment immediately
  • Provide him with a comforting and safe presence immediately following a seizure

As a pediatrician and mother, Angela Black knows firsthand how a seizure assistance dog can improve a child's life. Her seven year old daughter Sarah, who has Dravet syndrome, a severe form of epilepsy, received their dog Alfie, from 4 Paws for Ability in June 2010, and he has transformed their lives. "Our greatest fear was that Sarah might die from a prolonged seizure or SUDEP, sudden unexplained death in epilepsy, while she was alone," said Dr. Black. "Alfie provides Sarah with some independence and security while giving me peace of mind. Now that we have Alfie to alert us to her seizures, Sarah can play in another room while I cook dinner and sleep in her own bed."

These dogs are not only companions, they are lifesavers and caregivers. It costs 4 Paws for Ability $22,000 to procure and train an assistance dog. To cover that staggering cost and to enable them to help as many people as possible, they ask each recipient family to raise $13,000. Help Oliver's dream come true by making a tax deductible donation. To learn more about Oliver, see video of his seizure or to make a donation, visit

CONTACT: Heather Kurlinski of 4 Paws for Ability, +1-972-547-4604, +1-702-688-9424 cell,

SOURCE 4 Paws for Ability