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Klev'r's Story: Running Agility with a Seizure Dog

The "second part" to Chick's story: Her teammate's own struggle with seizures, and the importance of teamwork.


Story by Billie Rosen; edited by Mychelle Blake

Addendum June 27, 2016 - We are pleased to announce that Klev'r was the winning 12" dog for Performance Versatility Champions at our new event, Title Mania!

Klev'r is a 10-1/2-year-old Border Terrier, and like his teammate Chick, he is a seizure dog. Klev'r had his first seizure when he was five-and-a-half years old while he was doing earthdog practice. I was really scared, and immediately took him to the veterinarian, but he was fine by the time we got there, and they could find nothing out of the norm. His next seizure was a couple of months later. By his third seizure, I decided to consult with the neurologist. He was such a fun, happy dog except when he was seizing. Klev'r's seizures were really scary because they were long, sometimes 20 minutes or so, and violent. But he came out of them quickly, and didn't seem to suffer any after effects.


The neurologist could find no other explanation for his seizures and diagnosed him with "idiopathic epilepsy. She referred me to a veterinarian I knew well who is certified in Eastern veterinary medicine. I was willing to try anything reasonable to avoid putting him on phenobarbital or the other usual seizure medications. Dr. Hershey suggested we try Chinese herbs. In the five years since Klev'r has been on the herbs, he has suffered seizures only once or twice a year, and they are shorter and less violent than before we started the herbs.

The really good news for both of us is that the herbs have no side effects, and Klev'r and I have been able to continue running agility. In fact, last Memorial Day weekend at the Northwest Regional, Klev'r finished his USDAA Lifetime Achievement Gold, the first Border Terrier to do so.

Late last year, Julie Harbo and I decided to do PVP together and decided on the February Good Dog trial. We had three PVP classes on Saturday and both Klev'r and Chick ran really well, and were sitting in first place at the end of Saturday by about 30 points. But at home that evening, Julie emailed me that Chick had had a seizure on Friday and another one on the way home on Saturday, and she had made that really hard decision to retire her. After that message, I thought about my options, and decided that Klev'r and I would run on Sunday and dedicate our last two PVP runs to Chick. Our competition in this trial was really competitive and I wasn't at all sure that Klev'r and I could achieve a qualifying score in PVP, but I thought we should really try. So when I got to the trial Sunday morning, I told Julie that I was going to run for her and Chick, and try to get Chick a last Q.

Klev'r is a really good Gamblers dog, and we had a good Gamblers run. Before we ran Relay, I confirmed with the judge that as long as Julie took the baton and crossed the start line, then handed me the baton, I could run my part of the relay and get a score. And that's what we did! Klev'r ran nice and clean, and when the dust cleared, Klev'r and Chick finished about 30 points above the cut-off line! It was such a great feeling to have earned this Q for our TEAM!

Note: If you missed the first part of this story, read the story of Chick here.

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