Jewl's Story 

In Memory Of Chief "Tagert" Hammond 

May-30-1998 - 10-22-2005

Faithful Service dog and Companion For 7 Years September 14th 1996 started out as any normal day did, except that I woke up with what I thought was a cold. 

Little did I know that cold would change my life forever and give me a new friend and a different purpose in life. This is what happened to me. How I met Tagert and what he does.This is how it all began and my life changed for the better.

Well as I said I woke up one morning with a cold. Nothing out of the ordinary. I took some over the counter medicine and went to work.

 I kept telling myself that it will get better in a few days, eat right get some sleep. I will be better in a week. The week came and went and I was no better so I went to the doctor.

My temperature was 103.7. So I was admitted to the hospital with a unknown diagnosis. I was hospitalized for eight days. They were unable to pin point a cause. While in there I had an allergic reaction to most of the medications and this caused further delays. The antibiotics they gave me helped so they thought and I was released from the hospital still not sure what was wrong. 

I came home and I started acting funny a couple weeks later. I could not remember names of things I knew. I would pick up the phone only to forget who I was calling or the number. I could not remember words as I was having a conversation and I would get lost easily. I had an incident one-day. I walked around mumbling and picking at my clothes in a daze. My roommate told me to go and sit and I would for a second and than get back up. I did not remember any of this. Obviously there was something wrong. 

Well the next day we called my family doctor and asked what this could be. My doctor referred me to a neurologist at the University of Chicago who performed a sleep deprived EEG and a spinal tap. Eureka we had a Diagnosis: Viral Encephalitis caused by the Epstien Barr Virus which started this all. And now that has turned into epilepsy due to infection and high fever. 

Now that the doctors knew what it was, all they had to do was give me a pill and I would be fine. Not so easy. The road to recovery took about three years and I am still fighting it.

 I was diagnosed with Complex Partial and Absence seizures. Unable to do common everyday tasks associated with leading a normal life, I started to become a recluse. Getting lost in a strange town is OK. Getting lost in your own apartment complex is a different matter. Frightened and disoriented worrying if I would have a seizure every time I left the house, it was easier to just stay home.

Divine intervention in the form of an angel with paws instead of wings, came into my life.

 His name was Tagert a black lab with a special gift. He could sense an epileptic seizure before it happens. He is a seizure alert service dog. He has a 10-20 minutes lead time.

On February 20 1998 I met Tagert for the first time. Love at first sight mixed with apprehension. Was this what I really needed? Having a large dog with A neon sign that says ATTENTION; WE ARE DIFFERENT and I'm DISABLED LOOK AT US! 

One look into those eyes told the story. As we went through  our paces I had to struggle to keep up. This large black ball of energy was forcing me to do something that I was not sure I was ready to do. Rejoin the human race. The past few months has been a learning experience for both of us. All I have to do is look into those large brown eyes and the encouragement in them tells me I can do anything. Anything I ever dreamed of. 

Tagert gave me back my mobility, Dignity, independence made a real appreciation for the things in life that I used to take for granted. He is everything that I ever dreamed of and more. So very much more that I have made room for three. I have since all of this met a wonderful man that does not mind that I have disabilities and a dog who follows me every where I go. I am a Public speaker  on Service Dogs and Epilepsy. I took a negative and turned it into a positive. Thanks to Tagert I have my life back and I am soon to be starting a new life.

Tagert has since passed away and in November 2008 I received Rocky a German Shepherd my new service dog. I know that Tagert is pleased and happy for me, now that I have someone new to look after me. 

Thank you for visiting.