The last inductee tonight is Blitzen owned by David and Phyllis Parent of Essex Junction, VT. She was a 10 year old German Shepherd Dog and was nominated by VVMA member veterinarian Dr. Millie Armstrong.
Following a head injury after a fall, Phyllis became a very active
epileptic. Watching television one night, David and Phyllis saw
a story about seizure alert dogs and decided to see if they could
get a puppy and train it to assist Phyllis. With the help of a
local dog trainer, the Parent's new puppy, Blitzen, learned fast
and progressed quickly. Soon Blitzen was biting the lifeline necklace
worn by Phyllis whenever she had a seizure, thereby alerting rescue
services. Blitzen had become a wonderful Professional dog.
One evening, Blitzen began to act restless. She whined and barked and pushed Phyllis with her front paws. The Parents could not determine what was bothering her. Ten minutes later, Phyllis had a seizure. Blitzen had been trying to alert Phyllis of a coming seizure! This became a pattern and Blitzen warned Phyllis of many coming seizures. With prior warning, Phyllis was able to put the baby in her crib and get to a safe location avoiding injury to herself and others.
One day Phyllis decided to take a bath when David was not home. Although Blitzen tried to warn Phyllis of a coming seizure, this one came too fast and Phyllis could not get out of the tub. Minutes later, the Richmond Rescue crew arrived at the Parent's house. They had been alerted by the lifeline necklace and were greeted at the door by Blitzen. The bathtub plug and chain were found lying on the living room floor! Phyllis was found semi-conscious, but safe, in an empty tub, thanks to Blitzen -this time a Hero!
Blitzen continued to warn Phyllis of seizures. One day she even warned the mother of a young boy she had never seen before, that a seizure was on the way!
Another episode happened in the fall of 1992. Phyllis was resting in bed after a particularly difficult seizure, when an intruder entered the house and assaulted her. Blitzen, sleeping by her bedside, attacked the intruder, chased him from the house and into the near by woods, once again saving Phyllis's life.
Recently, Phyllis's seizures have come under control and Blitzen was retired as a seizure alert dog. She remained, however a very loyal and loving companion. At 10 years old, Blitzen was diagnosed with a terminal heart condition. Shortly after she was nominated for the Vermont Animal Hall of Fame, Blitzen succumbed to this condition. Although Blitzen is no longer with the Parents, she will be remembered for her Heroism, Professionalism and long Companionship.
The VVMA is very proud and honored to induct Blitzen posthumously into the Vermont Animal Hall of Fame as the very first Animal of the Year!