Here is an excerpt from the full article, which can be found here:: https://www.pastemagazine.com/articles/2019/10/doctor-dogs-maria-goodavage-excerpt-paul-koira.html?fbclid=IwAR1TyPBiEi34XaHzdP6qZMM1O3hk_nZOZq9nrdROp4Fyj4_CsTvwHr6Vfjw
Once Mary realized dogs could alert to migraines, she decided to try to help people train their dogs using the scent of their saliva before or during a migraine. She used a similar technique to help people train their dogs for diabetes.
She knew it wasn’t scientific, and that some might scoff at her techniques. But she says with the right dog—usually a puppy who can be trained early on scent—and rigorous, reward-based training by highly dedicated owners, it has worked most of the time.
“I was so surprised at first,” says Mary. “But if trained dogs can find whale poo in the ocean, it shouldn’t be a shock that trained dogs can find something right beside them. We won’t ever explore what dogs are capable of unless people like me say, ‘Hey, let’s just try this and see if it works.’”
She says that in her experience, as long as there’s some kind of biochemical change, there’s a chance a dog could alert to it. “We’re not talking trick knees,” she says. “But there’s a lot of potential for dogs to be able to alert to illnesses in areas we haven’t thought of yet. We just have to try.”
Paul’s migraines were different from those of any of her other students, but Mary was fairly confident there was hope, although she couldn’t guarantee success. She directed the family to a breeder that was about to have a litter of goldendoodles. This breeder was known for producing high- quality, successful service dogs, and Mary felt one of these pups would give Paul the best chance.
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