HEATHER Truscott’s life changed two years ago when the Smart Pups organisation presented her with Kruiser the black labrador.
Now Ms Truscott, who has epilepsy, and her nine-year-old daughter Carla are able to go just about anywhere with a new-found independence and Kruiser at their side.
Even though he appears relaxed at her feet, Kruiser instantly picks up on the chemical changes in Ms Truscott’s body when seizure activity is coming on.
Initially he will stand in front of her, nudge her or put his paw on her as a first indication, and will even go to the extent of climbing on her lap to give her advance notice of seizure activity.
Ms Truscott located the Smart Pups organisation, which operates in Queensland, and they arranged for Kruiser’s training after he was rejected by the bomb squad.
That rejection has led to a beautiful friendship and a new lease of life for Ms Truscott.
“I had to send away some t-shirts for for his trainers to use during his training, ones that I had been wearing when I was unwell, so he learnt to recognise the smell,” she said.
When Ms Truscott is having seizure activity Kruiser never leaves her side. He is also trained to get help for his owner if she is unable to do so herself.
“He will go to someone I know or even a stranger,” she said.
“He just went straight up to one of the employees when I was shopping in Big W in Bathurst and got help for me. He goes everywhere with me, even to the Opera House where I saw my daughter play the violin.”
Founder of the Smart Pups organisation Patricia McAllister said it was a joy to see them together.
“It is wonderful to see him bring so much independence,” she said.