Helper Dogs

I've had several encounters with helper dogs in the past couple of months, two of which seem noteworthy...

One evening I was having a chat with a colleage and he mentioned that his girlfriend occasionally came down with migraines. Late that night I boarded the bus to return home and sat behind a woman with a chihuahua on her lap.

During the course of the trip I learned that these dogs can be trained to recognize early signs of migraines, sometimes up to 30 mins before onset. Interesting coincident, I thought, given my discussion earlier that evening.

Later that week I was waiting on a subway platform and what should appear but several helper dogs being led around by obviously 'sighted' folks in a rather excited, though disciplined manner. I believe these dogs were being trained to become helper dogs.

My conclusion? None. It felt like quite the coincidence, discussing an issue I have little knowledge of, discovering that there's a type of dog that can precognate the issue, then running across a cabal that trains these creatures in the subway.

shari, Nov 10 2005 6:16PM

Hi Bob-
I need more info about the chihuahua...I get nasty migraines.

Sandie, Nov 11 2005 9:16AM

Coincidence? This week I saw a clip from an episode of Nature on PBS titled, "Can Animals Predict Disaster?"

Some scientists believe that animals can sense disasters like the tsunami in Asia. The show's on Sunday.

mark, Nov 11 2005 10:01AM

i started getting migraines when i turned 20 & have been suffering ever since. i don't get them enough to call my condition chronic but during certain times of the year (fall & spring) i have them almost weekly.

getting an extra 30 minutes to take medication certainly would bolster my families case for getting a dog. hopefully the ability is not only tapped by chihuahuas. can't say that i find them all that cute.

karl, Nov 11 2005 2:41PM

i take the dog to the video store with me, but she still hasn't learned to predict when i'm about to pick up a really bad movie.

bob, Nov 11 2005 6:11PM

A Monkey Butler would be just the ticket...proposed in Maxim magazine, considered here, and also mentioned in at least one Simpson's episode (full transcript).