Paul's mom Vivian estimates Koira has helped save her son at least 50 times. He is diagnosed with hypermobile Ehler-Danlos Syndrome and Hypokalemic periodic paralysis. He says his condition has caused him to fall down a flight of stairs. Paul and his mom were able to train Koira using Paul's saliva on cotton balls His service dog is now able to detect the scent change that occurs in his body prior to an attack. With Koira's help, he is now able to know 30 minutes before an attack begins and he can get himself to a safe location.
"Living with all these things, some of it can zap the joy out of life. But when you have great things, like a fluffy little service dog that comes with you everywhere, it throws the joy back in life. It makes things better. It makes things a lot easier," Paul says, explaining his life is now filled with all sorts of new freedoms and independence, like not having to wear a bicycle helmet while attending his college classes.
Additionally, his mom previously had to wait in the parking lot for Paul while he attended class, in case he had an episode, and now he is able to go school on his own with Koira by his side.
Maria Goodavage, the author of "Doctor Dogs," explains service dogs are able to help so many people is often linked to the animal's incredible sense of smell. She says service dogs can help people with diabetes, sleep disorders, seizures, and to even detect cancer. Maria says nearly any dog can be trained for this type of work and noting that dogs who are reward-driven often make the best service dogs.