Rosalie’s Canine Assistants, Inc. Application


Date:  June 30, 2010

Name:                        Rosalie Mae O(mitted)

What is your primary disability:  Epilepsy

What caused your disability and at what age?  Don’t know what caused it, but I have had it since birth.  I had apnea at birth and turned blue when I was just 12 hours old.  I was on an apnea monitor for the first 7 months of my life and was hospitalized twice for apnea.  I have been on anti-seizure medication since I was about 18 months old, but it has never completely controlled my seizures.

List any secondary disabilities:  Autism and AD/HD.

My autism has been part of me since I was a baby.  I never babbled.  At 3 years old, I had 5 words I could say, could not point and could not answer any yes/no questions.  I have severely delayed speech and language.  I was in the handi-capped pre-k then transitioned to the self-contained autism class for K and 1st grade.  I am impulsive and have a hard time focusing.  This is why I sometimes make loud, high pitched squeals and jump up and down. I have sensory processing and auditory processing issues.  My AD/HD and autism are inseparable.

Is your disability progressive?  Yes, these seizures are getting more physically debilitating. I’ve had partial complex seizures since birth where I have an altered state of consciousness and stare.  But on Dec. 3, 2009 I had my first grand mal seizure.  Since then I’ve had ‘tonic’ seizures that affect the left side of my body, and I lose balance and strength for several hours afterwards.  This is why my mom started looking into a service dog to help me.  My autism will be a lifelong struggle.  I have been progressing steadily in my language and social skills but because of the increased seizures I have regressed in my daily living skills (dressing, potty training, playing with others nicely, etc).  We don’t know if I’ll outgrow the seizures or not.

What are the effects of your disability?

Speech Impairment – I am extremely language and speech delayed.  I do not carry on typical back and forth conversations.  I can express my needs and wants, and make comments, but my language delay affects my interactions with peers and adults.  I occasionally have a hard time making my words clear enough for people to understand but that’s getting better.  I think I could give accurate vocal commands to my dog.

Reduced Stamina- I have low core strength (muscle tone) and that causes reduced stamina.

Coordination Problems- I have an awkward gait.  I have a hard time putting my clothing on because I have a hard time with coordination.  My mom keeps saying I need to do this by myself because I’m a big girl now.

Slowed Development – My diagnosis for years was “pervasive developmental delay”.  My emotions, cognitive functioning, language, speech and sensory systems are delayed.  I may look like a typical 7 going on 8 year old, but when I start talking or moving, people know I am different.

Other:  When I hyper-focus on something that fascinates me or am having seizures, I don’t hear what’s going on around me.  My impulsiveness, hyperactivity and attention deficit impair my every day functioning. I have impaired coordination, balance and confusion after seizures, as well as exhaustion.  I get very over-stimulated which causes me to be exhausted too!  Seizures are more likely with exhaustion, illness and dehydration.

Allergies (eczema) – mostly environmental like pollen and mold – but sometimes its contact from things like bleach.  I do not have typical dog dander allergies.

Heightened Emotions – I get very wound up sometimes, have severe happy/angry mood swings.  I have a hard time communicating effectively with people.  When I get sick, I usually don’t know it – I just know I’m much more emotional than normal.  I love playing with other kids, but my behaviors and speech get in the way.  I am emotionally similar to a 4 or 5 year old.

Balance- I usually have good balance, but on days with seizures I have to walk close to furniture because of my left sided weakness or I skip that and just crawl.

Seizures- I have partial complex seizures – brief staring spells with altered consciousness.  These have always been hard to control with medications and occur anywhere from 2 to 3 times a week to many on a daily basis.  I’ve had 2 grand mal seizures – both in Dec. 2009 and we suppose it is from a particular medication I was taking.  Since those grand mal seizures I’ve been having tonic seizures that cause me to have muscle weakness and falling to the ground.  I am unbalanced for 4 – 6 hours afterward.  This type of seizure has been occurring about 3 times a month.  It is especially disturbing to the staff and children when it happens at school.

Seizure medications:  Trileptal and Lamictal   AD/HD medication:  Intuniv

My medications have to be increased and changed on a fairly frequent basis to control my seizures, which requires constant monitoring of side effects and seizure activity.

Those I live with and love:

Andy Oldenburg                                  Dad                      43 (Principal Engineer)

Cathleen Oldenburg                            Mom                    38 (stay at home mommy)

Julianna                                                 sister                     12 (she’s high functioning autistic and has epilepsy too)

Katherine                                              sister                     11 (brainy! Has her own iguana)

*ME* Rosalie                                      myself                  almost 8! (the loveable one who really needs a service dog!)

Daniel                                                    brother                 6 (he’s the one with asthma)

Evelyn                                                   sister                     4 (she also has epilepsy)

Peter                                                       brother                 3 (mechanical engineer in training)

Aaron                                                     brother                 1 (the one that drools, yuck!)

Do you have an attendant?   No, but because of age/autism I am supervised 90% of the time, except for at night and sometimes in the bathroom.

Please describe your home and your neighborhood:  We live in a quiet suburban neighborhood.  I have lots of brothers and sisters with lots of toys lying around.  I love the park, the mall playground, and sometimes go to the beach or the pool.  I love van rides (mommy owns a 15 passenger van).  We go to a small church full of very loving people (I love the park there too!).  We have pot lucks sometimes at church.  I will be starting a new school with 25 – 30 children enrolled for the 2010/2011 school year – there will be 4 children in my class. We don’t have many multi-story buildings in town, but when we go to the doctor I get to ride on an elevator.  I visit doctor offices quite often with my siblings.  It is hot here year round, so we have lots of shade trees in our yard, including my very favorite – the mulberry tree (purple and messy but oh so good) and my least favorite – the pine tree with pokey pinecones!  We also have grass snakes, lizards, and tree frogs on our property.  Coral snakes, water moccasins and rattlers live in my part of the state but I’ve never seen them around my property.  My house is cement block, able to withstand up to upper level 4 hurricanes – but when really big storms come we evacuate to my auntie’s house in Ohio.  I don’t walk to many places like stores and parks because they’re too far away – we always take the van.  I will not be riding the school bus any more.  I had an aide on the bus because of my seizures and it was a good thing too!  Once I went to get off the bus and couldn’t walk.  The aide had to carry me off the bus.  Mommy will be driving me to my new school this year.

Have you ever had a dog?  We have aquariums and an iguana in a cage.  We haven’t had a dog since I was a baby.  My mom used to groom, show and train dogs.  She was raised with dogs.  She had a champion Tibetan Spaniel and a CD obedience champion Wheaten Terrier that she groomed and trained.  She said that she decided to not get another dog when ours passed away so she could focus on my therapies.  She went to vocational school for grooming and animal science.  I love dogs more than anything.  I crave deep impact, and love touching paws, but I like it when they kiss me on the mouth which makes mommy cringe.  I would like a big dog that can take a good firm patting/hugging and that doesn’t get upset about its feet or ears being touched.  I am active and excitable and make loud squealing noises that some dogs get upset around.  I think I need a dog that is very playful but won’t get overly excited when I jump or squeal.  And one that loves me even when I kiss him on the lips.

Do other animals live with you or visit you frequently?  The only pets I come into contact with are grandma’s Tibetan Spaniel that is 10 years old – he lets me pet him briefly, but won’t play with me.  Her 2 cats are kind of shy but I love them too.  Aunt Eileen’s kitty doesn’t like me.  Other than that the only time I see dogs is when they’re walking down the street (we have a few labs and a Rottweiler on our road).  I ask to pet every single dog I meet.  I also love it when I see ‘therapy dogs’ at festivals – they are my FAVORITE attraction and they always let me pet them!  My sister Katherine takes care of the iguana and mommy takes care of the fish.

Who will assist in the daily care and training of your dog:  My mommy is an excellent dog trainer and is willing and able to train me and my dog to work as a team.

Does anyone in your household have concerns about having a service/companion dog in their home?  Everyone will LOVE a dog in the home, but it might take some getting used to that this is MY service dog.  There may be jealousy at first, but with specific rules in place they will learn to love my dog.  They will come to see me in a more positive light with the dog’s help.  And it might give me something to be able to share with them once in a while.

Are you (or anyone in your household) allergic to animals? No.  But a few of us have environmental allergies.  My brother is on a daily preventative inhaler for asthma induced by his allergies.

Are you concerned about fleas, shedding? Mommy doesn’t want tons of shedding because of where we live she says that dogs shed year round here instead of seasonally.  Since I do have a few siblings with environmental allergies, it would be wise to keep shedding to a minimum.  Also, because I chew on my hands all the time, it would be best to not have too much fur to have to spit out.  Mommy said we would use heartworm, flea and tick preventatives year round – no matter what.   Bugs are a part of life unfortunately.

I am enrolled in a small private Christian school – My teacher, principal and owner of the school would do anything to help me succeed in life, including incorporating a service dog into my routine.  I think an assistance dog would be helpful if I were to have a seizure at school because he could help support me throughout the day when I’m off balance.  It would be helpful to have a working dog so that peers can see me and not my odd behaviors, and it would encourage my language skills when people come to talk to me about my dog.  I think an assistance dog could help me calm down – I love deep pressure so when I take a sensory break I can have my dog lie on my lap on the floor or lean on me. And dog potty breaks will help keep me on my own potty schedule (I need a schedule or I regress in potty training, even at nearly 8 years old). Water breaks for my dog will encourage me to drink – another plus for reducing seizures!  I will feel more in control when my dog obeys me.  And I will sleep better at night when he snuggles with me. It would be wonderful if a dog could help me learn not to get in people’s faces (like silently nudging me when I am getting right up into someone’s face).  I don’t need to be stopped from doing it – I need be able to become aware of it so I can learn to stop myself.

Pick five words that would best describe the dog you would like to have.

Playful, attentive, confident, easy-going, and friendly

Pick five words that would describe traits you would not like to have in a dog.

Indifferent, distracted, fearful, submissive, no-nonsense

Describe your means of transportation: I walk, run, skip, jump, and spin – oh, and I also ride in mommy’s 15 passenger van.

Are you available to attend a two week training camp at the Canine Assistants facility?  My mommy will be thrilled to accompany me to a two week training camp to help me learn to be not just a good friend to my new companion, but a good leader.  My Pastor and the church members are more than willing to help out with my brothers and sisters during my stay.  Daddy will probably have to stay home and work, but he has flexibility in his schedule.  If we time it during a school break that would be best, but if not my teachers can set up an educational routine and mommy (ex-home school mom) can implement it.  Because of my autism, I get over-stimulated and it is hard for me to sit still for long.  During training camp I will probably be pretty wound up at first and you will probably hear me ask (loudly) about a hundred times in a row “I pet my dog now?”.  Be patient with me and allow me some breaks.

How do you feel a service/companion dog could improve your life?  My mommy says that she thinks a dog would help me have more positive social interactions which is a major issue with my autism.  I would like it if I could have friends my own age!  I think a service dog could help me emotionally, now and during puberty.  Mommy says a lot of kids with autism tend to have depression, and since clinical depression runs in our family on both sides it would be good to stop it before it starts!  When I have seizures, my dog will help me by alerting my parents (especially at night and in the bath tub), helping me with balance/mobility, and with recuperation.  My service dog will help me calm down and de-stress by applying pressure to my body.  Also, I can play with my dog and wear myself out.  I can focus my obsession with throwing things if I have a dog – I can have a specific time and place to throw to my heart’s content, which will make me happy and make my dog happy too, assuming he likes to play fetch (it will also help me to appear more normal in public – I won’t throw things as much)!  I will be better able to handle changes more successfully with my dog at my side.  I will increase my language ability when people come up and ask me questions about him.  Life just isn’t fair to a little girl with Autism sometimes – with a dog that obeys my commands, I could have the feeling of being in control in a crazy unsettling world. My dog will go with me to the noisy, confusing places and help me manage the stress better. *a note from Mommy: “I found out about 3 years ago that when we go to stores or places where Rosalie is uncomfortable, if I allow her to bring a stuffed animal and tell her “Rosalie, tell puppy that he has to be quiet in the store” this helps her manage HER behaviors.”

With what specific tasks would you hope a dog could help you?

-alert others to my seizures I am unable to call out (I can be wide awake, but unable to respond)

-helping with maintaining balance, when I’m falling to my left, during the after-effects of the seizures

-staying with me during the post-seizure stage to reassure me

-go to a person on command in case of emergency (this will be helpful as I get more independent).

-alert me to people calling for me repeatedly (or to timers or fire alarms)

-if possible, nudge me when I have my face or hands within inches of someone else’s face

-lay on my lap/body or lean on me on command so I can de-stress with the weight

Please tell us a little more about yourself:  I love puzzles, bingo, chinese checkers and playing with little teeny tiny stuffed animals (dogs and monkeys are my favorite).  I love the color green and Curious George.  I go to AWANA at church – I’m a Sparky!  Bubbles are really cool too.  Apples and ketchup are my favorite things.  And my very favorite is the Wii!  I may not sit still for videos, but I can engage in the Wii for a long time.

Because it is important to teach others about service dog teams, community service is all that we ask in return for a placed service dog.   What kind of community service would be of interest to you?  I don’t know if I’m old enough to do community service or can handle being central to the attention, but I would choose to go to schools (special needs children in particular) and talk to them about my dog (or at least, my mommy could talk and I could just do demonstrations)

What questions or concerns do you have that we may address? My question is “can I really have my very own dog to love?”  WOW!  Mommy’s question is how likely are you to place a service dog in a lively energetic child filled home?  By the time I get my dog I will probably be 10 and my youngest brother will be out of diapers.  He will be the only child left at home  – the rest of us will be off at school all day so that will considerably lower mommy’s daily task list.  She wants to know if your dogs are raised in noisy homes with children’s toys and running around going on.  Also, what amount of time is spent daily in continuing/keeping up with the training process?  Are there ongoing re-certifications that need to happen?  Would it be necessary for the entire family to come up to training camp for a few days or is it ok that they meet the dog when he gets to our home?


Please return to:             Canine Assistants    3160 Francis Road     Milton, Georgia    30004

Top Row: Me getting into auntie E’s personal space, laughing, and pointing to my “Constant Supervision Required” t-shirt with puppies on it.  Bottom row:  One of the looks I give when I’m having a partial complex seizure, and the last one is me and my family (mom, dad, and all 7 children).  Mom says there will definitely not be any more Oldenburg children – our family is complete.


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