The Farah-Dogs association in Sierre, supported by the Loterie Romande, prepares dogs to warn people suffering from epilepsy or diabetes of the imminence of a crisis. It also allows children with autism to better socialize.
Dogs that allow sick people to stay alive, it does exist! These four-legged caregivers are able to detect minute changes in smells or brain waves in a person with epilepsy and alert them that a seizure is brewing. “Thus warned, underlines Stéphanie Nanchen, executive assistant and canine trainer of the Farah-Dogs association in Sierre, the person suffering from epilepsy will take shelter and lie down on the ground so that their seizure does not cause not tragic consequences.”
But the approximately 22 puppies currently placed between 15 and 18 months in foster care will also adapt to other illnesses. Through the sense of smell, they will prevent hypoglycaemia in people with diabetes, in particular by detecting a variation in acetone and will significantly improve the sociability of young autistic people. During this first course, doggie will learn good manners: leave the cats alone, do not bark without reason, avoid making holes in the garden, accept caresses, no longer torture slippers and admit that the bed or the sofa is not weren’t built for him.
At this point, dogs do not yet have a specialization. It is at the center that will be determined to which pathology they will be directed. “We are open to many breeds of dog, continues the canine educator, from the Cocker Spaniel to the Labradoodle via the Papillon dog, what matters to us is to know if he has truffles, that is to say say a highly developed sense of smell that would allow us to refer it to people with diabetes, for example.”
The complete training of a dog costs 30,000 francs
Farah-Dogs (Farah, the name of the first dog of Nicole Boyer, the director, means joy or gaiety in Arabic), a non-profit association, has two canine educators and four collaborators. “Training a dog can cost up to 30,000 francs, says Stéphanie Nanchen, and we give it away for free once its training is complete. This shows how dependent we are on aid, such as that which we receive from Loterie Romande and which allows us year after year to pursue our mission.”