Q&A

Service Dogs for Tourettes: Is One Right For Me?

Do you know someone with Tourette syndrome (learn more here)? If so, looking into service dogs for Tourettes might be a good idea. Below are some stories of successful partnerships of people suffering from Tourette’s and trained service dogs.

Alfie & Blake

I was a typical high school student at the start of my junior year. I was having a good time with my friends and performing well in my classes.

But everything changed in March of 2019. I was diagnosed with Tourette’s syndrome and non-epileptic seizures. It grew so severe that I was expelled from school and never finished my junior or senior years like the other students at my school. 

I started looking into getting a service dog, but the problem was there were no facilities nearby that had trained dogs for Tourette’s. 

Luckily, we discovered a service dog training center nearby. It was only a day’s drive away, and they had previously trained a dog for a person with Tourette’s syndrome. We soon contacted them, and they found my service dog, Alfie, and we instantly clicked.

When the first time I met my dog, he quickly became aware of my tics. We created an unbreakable bond as we worked together, and now he and I work in perfect rhythm. Thanks to the service dog training center. Their meticulous training made Alfie the dog he is today. I can rely on him to keep me safe. He is the dog I need to have a normal life.

Myles & Erin

My name is Erin and I have a service dog named Myles. I’ve spent most of my life dealing with weird muscular attacks that left me immobilized for hours. Doctors said I had panic attacks and anxiety. I felt insane and alone. To top it all off, I developed Tics during my junior year of high school.

We went to see a specialist later that year, and I was diagnosed with Tourette’s Syndrome. I was also diagnosed with another “rare” juvenile disease called paroxysmal non-kinesigenic dyskinesia. My muscles clench uncontrollably as a result of this illness, leaving me immobilized and miserable for days. This is when I began looking for a company to train my existing dog. 

I finally found a dog training center based in Oklahoma. I lived in Wyoming at that time and I wasn’t sure if they would train my dog. So I called them and explained the situation. The trainer explained that they even trained dogs overseas and they would be ready to help me train Myles!

I eagerly started training my dog as soon as the trainer started to slowly provide me with information. We’ve been training Myles for 5 months and it’s amazing! Myles has saved me from several falls and knows when I’m going to have an attack before I even notice! I am eternally grateful to my dog’s trainer and the company for everything they have done for me.

The dog training company has shown me so much love and support. I now have hope for a life that is more like normal thanks to Myles. The company genuinely saves lives, and I’m honored to be a part of something so incredible.

Ava & Harley

My name is Ava and my life changed forever in 2013 after I was diagnosed with Tourette’s Syndrome. 

Following extensive testing and hospital stays, it was established that I most likely had a severe form of Tourette’s Syndrome and a number of other problems. I had a number of prescriptions and trips out of state to help in controlling my pseudo seizures, leg numbness, fainting spells, discomfort, headaches, and tics that changed on a weekly basis. Finally, it was suggested that we should check into service dogs.

My family and I were frustrated after weeks of exploring the internet for a Tourette’s service dog to find just two Tourette’s service dog trainers in the United States. Both were costly and over 1,000 miles away. Then a family friend recommended an exceptional dog trainer in Tulsa who might be able to assist us. This is when we discovered a dog training company that changed my life. The trainer took on the challenge of training her first Tourette’s service dog. I was introduced to Harley, a mischievous Goldendoodle who quickly became my dearest buddy and lifetime companion.

Harley can detect a “tic attack” before I even notice. He would lay across my leg when he senses that I’m going to have tics. He nudges me until I pet him to distract me from focusing on my tics. Harley stays with me when I pass out to keep me safe, and licks my face when I stop breathing to keep me from panicking. He will make me sit down if my legs are about to go numb, and licks my hand if I’m about to pass out! My dog also detects when I am upset, depressed, or anxious, and forces me to stop what I am doing and focus on him in order to avoid an attack. Harley is more than just my service dog. He is a lifelong companion who will allow me to live a normal life.

Macy & Harper

My name is Macy, and I suffer from Tourette’s Syndrome, a neurological illness that once kept me from living the life I wanted to. But my life changed after I met my service dog.

Getting a trainer for Tourette’s service dog can be difficult and expensive. There are just a few service dog trainers for Tourette Syndrome available. Luckily, I found a perfect trainer who introduced me to my service dog and best buddy, Harper.

I couldn’t go to college before I met Harper due of my disabilities. My legs would become paralyzed, and I would collapse and experience psychogenic convulsions. I’d get tics where I’d damage myself, and they’d change on a weekly basis. I thought I couldn’t control my life since I couldn’t control my own body. But now I can control my life again thanks to my service dog.

Harper detects seizures before they occur. If I fall, he lays down on me and the seizure ceases. He can sense when my legs are about to give out and when I am feeling anxious.

I have developed a new tic in which I punch my face. Harper started intercepting them right away and had me pet him instead.

Harper is my everything. He and his trainer had changed my life.