As per Canine Partners for Life, service dogs, or assistance dogs, undergo training to alert humans to an impending seizure, detecting a distinct scent emitted by the human body at that crucial moment, although the exact mechanism remains unknown.

Melissa shared that Elton, their assistance dog, has effectively alerted them to most of Charlie’s seizures through barking. Elton has become an invaluable addition to their family, providing support during numerous hospital admissions and moments of uncertainty about Charlie’s health.

Despite the challenges, Melissa expressed appreciation for the process of training Elton and integrating him into their family and medical team. Elton’s significance was recognized in January 2023 when he earned the Australian Dog of the Year’s people’s choice award, a testament to his impact and popularity.

Reflecting on the bond between Charlie and Elton, the Clode family embarked on an emotional journey. Melissa highlighted how Elton, whether sleeping next to Charlie on the ground or on the bed, always keeps a watchful eye on him. Witnessing the companionship between the two, Melissa described Elton as a “little friend” with whom Charlie can share everything, adding a touch of cuteness to their connection.

Melissa expressed a desire for every long-term medically compromised child in Canberra to have a dog at the end of their bed, citing the tremendous benefits Charlie has experienced from Elton’s care and attention. She emphasized Elton’s protective role and the comfort Charlie finds in receiving a hug from his canine companion, bringing light to challenging time

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