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When Alison got in touch with us to ask if we’d ever consider producing tags for assistance dogs, our interest was certainly captured!
Alison has lived with Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome since 1999. In 2008 Alison was prescribed Morphine and was worried about what would happen if she needed medical help, whilst her allergy to Heparin is important to be aware of in an emergency situation. At this point, she decided to become a MedicAlert member, relieved that her medical records could be easily accessed not just in the UK but abroad too - something that is very important to her as she is originally from Phoenix, Arizona in the USA!
Unfortunately, Alison was rushed to hospital in 2010 with double pneumonia and put into a medically induced coma. Once she woke, she gradually had to gain back the use of most of her body. Her MedicAlert bracelet was the only thing she was allowed to keep on in the hospital.
When Alison returned home after 5 months in hospital, her pet Alaskan Malamute Icy started to come to her assistance. Alison read up about assistance dogs and began to train Icy to help her walk and to aid her when she fell. Eventually, the two were out walking together with just a crutch to help. When Icy passed away, Alison found herself bereft of not just her best friend but also her mobility partner.
A year later, Alison found a young rescue Alaskan Malamute Crossbreed, Bear. His job has been more complex than Icy’s, as Alison has started to go blind and also now suffers from Psychogenic Non-Epileptic Seizures (PNES) along with a diagnosis of Functional Neurological Disorder in 2014. Alison has trained Bear to deal with all her needs and is now an FND assistance dog.
Alison had previously fashioned her own tags for Bear to wear that notified others to look for her MedicAlert bracelet, should she have an accident. She asked whether we would be able to create a tag with the recognisable MedicAlert logo - something that may aid first responders in finding the vital information and in turn build her confidence to remain active and independent. At this point, Alison was only leaving the house around once a week, relying on her husband to walk Bear.
We realised that this suggestion wouldn’t just support our members who have assistance animals, but may also be useful to any member who walks their pet and wishes to have an additional safeguard whilst out and about. We created a prototype tag for Bear and Alison kindly agreed to give it a test!
We worked with Alison to improve and refine the product and ensure it was suitable for dogs of all sizes. Bear has already worn his MedicAlert Pet Tag for almost a month now, going everywhere from GP appointments and therapy sessions to walks and visits to the shops. This gives Alison the confidence that, if something were to happen whilst they’re out together, a responder will be pointed towards her medical information. In the month that they have been testing the prototype, Alison has left the house almost every day!
If we weren’t already convinced, Alison kindly posted a poll within the Facebook group for ‘UK Owner Trained Assistance/Service Dogs Campaign for Change’ - a group that she co-founded. The feedback was overwhelmingly positive with 97% of members supporting the Pet Tag for their assistance animal.
We love feedback from our members, particularly when it means we come up with a new idea that may improve our service for so many people. We have launched the Pet Tag as additional items range, both for those with support dogs and for our members with a family pet.
GET YOUR PET TAG NOW
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