Shelter Dog Becomes Seizure Alert Dog for Pageant Queen

By PetcoFoundation on Mar. 16, 2017


Each year, the Petco Foundation invites adopters to share the story of how their adopted pet changed their lives during the annual Holiday Wishes campaign, giving the organization that they adopted from a chance to receive a grant award. This story by Brenda Falkenberg won Cowley County Humane Society in Winfield, Kansas a 2016 Holiday Wishes award. 

My daughter Jody was born with epilepsy and was homeschooled because of her uncontrolled seizures.

A doctor told us a service dog would help her lead a more productive life. A service dog, however, can cost $10,000 to $30,000, so Jody took classes for two years to learn to train a service dog herself.

She then called the Cowley County Humane Society and asked if they had a dog that could be trained as a service dog. They introduced her to Justice. It was an instant connection. The following week, Justice passed his public access and Canine Good Citizen tests – and we adopted him.

Jody knows someone trained Justice before she got him because he learned so quickly. It had taken only two weeks before Justice alerted consistently on Jody's seizures. He quickly got the hang of being a seizure alert dog.


After having Justice for just a month, Jody asked if she could go to public school. They entered eighth grade at Arkansas City Middle School as the first Handler/Service Dog Team. They educated both teachers and students on service dogs and epilepsy awareness.

Justice can alert Jody ten minutes before a seizure, giving Jody a newfound confidence that she can face the world.

Jody dreamt of showing the world that she is more than a girl with epilepsy, so she entered the Today's American Women pageant with Justice by her side. They won the title of Elegant Teen Kansas 2015. Together, they did 500 plus community service hours, wrote a book called “Justice, A Queen’s Seizure Alert Dog,” and helped educate people about service dogs and epilepsy awareness throughout Kansas.

In June of 2016, Justice and Jody took a Carnival Cruise in the hopes of being the National Elegant Teen 2016. They competed in a four-day pageant that took them from Florida to Nassau, Bahamas. It was a delight for everyone to see how amazing Justice was on the cruise. When people heard Jody and Justice’s story, they were shocked he was a rescue dog.


Jody won and, as National Elegant Teen 2016, will travel with Justice across the U.S. educating people about service dogs and epilepsy awareness, letting others know it’s possible to save a dog, have that dog save you, and together spread awareness that may someday save someone else.  

Without Justice, Jody would not have the freedom to be the “Queen” we all know she is meant to be.

Learn more about the Petco Foundation by visiting www.petcofoundation.org.

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by Shannon Hinson
‎12-08-2016 07:00 PM

Awesome story. What a heart of gold.

Awesome story. What a heart of gold.

Posted on Dec. 8, 2016
by Cindy Freeland
‎12-11-2016 07:04 AM

Amazing story!  Very special dog and young lady.

Amazing story!  Very special dog and young lady.

Posted on Dec. 11, 2016
by Pat Burns Marshall
‎12-23-2016 08:14 PM

Such a beautiful young woman, having her life fulfilled by her new furry friend! Very inspiring!

Such a beautiful young woman, having her life fulfilled by her new furry friend! Very inspiring!

Posted on Dec. 23, 2016
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