Guide dogs lead the way for those in need


It’s hard to resist playing with Tulip, with her tiny frame, wagging tail and soft, black fur. But the miniature poodle isn’t just a normal pet. She’s a seizure guide dog that helps those with epilepsy.

Her owner, Elizabeth Rose von Rosenbach, fosters Tulip and helps her get used to outside environments that dogs usually aren’t accustomed to. “I have cerebral palsy, which affects the whole right side of my body, so I really like getting involved with and giving back to the community.”


Elizabeth von Rosenbach with her guide dog Tulip.

Guide dogs are highly trained working dogs used to help provide mobility, safety and higher independence to those with vision loss (among other disabilities), according to Seizure dogs are trained specially to react to their handler’s seizures by barking for help, triggering an alert system or getting help within a home environment, according to

Foster families take in the dogs for about a year.

“Smaller dogs are used for sleeping on children’s bed at night. If the child were to have a seizure, the dog would wake up and alert the parents,” said the post-grad Computer Animation student.

“If an adult were to have a seizure, the dog would cue into the seizure movements and will bark until they help.” The seizure program is one of the six programs that the Lions Foundation of Canada offers. Canine vision, hearing ear, special skills, autism assistance and diabetic alert dogs are also available at the Oakville organization.

Von Rosenbach first found out about the program years ago through a newspaper and has been fostering ever since. She’s had Tulip for a month and will have her until January. She also gets help from her parents.

Tulip, a miniature guide dog, is in the seizure guide program.


“When we first took on the guide dog program, it was a way to teach our kids the benefits of volunteering in a fun way,” said Anne von Rosenbach, Elizabeth’s mom.

“The satisfaction when you see them learn and the joy they get when they gain a new skill is very rewarding.”

Elizabeth said one of the most exciting things is knowing how much guide dogs can open up a person’s life, such as her best friend who’s blind.

von Rosenbach and Tulip enjoy an afternoon stroll through the park.