July 15, 2019 6:46 pm
Updated: July 16, 2019 10:35 pm

16-month-old with Dravet syndrome needs special service dog

Watch: Surrey family needs service dog for toddler

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Sixteen-month-old Mila Duke is a joyful little girl with a contagious smile. But sadly, that smile is often interrupted by a seizure.

Six months ago she was diagnosed with Dravet syndrome, a rare and devastating form of epilepsy. Mila’s frequent seizures can last up to two hours, and can be fatal.

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Her parents must monitor her 24/7.

“The seizures are life-threatening, every one of them,” mother Kristina Kovacevic said. “I don’t have words for how this has impacted us. It has absolutely turned our lives upside down.


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“Every aspect of our life has changed. Every dream that I had for her, I have to really fight for it now. It’s really scary every day, just not knowing if tomorrow is guaranteed.”

Mila’s parents are trying to get her a highly-specialized service dog that is trained to predict and manage seizures.

READ MORE: Boy with autism not allowed to have service dog in class: Ontario Human Rights Tribunal

Only one Canadian agency trains dogs to deal with seizures, but Mila’s young age makes her ineligible. That means her family will need to purchase one from the organization 4 Paws For Ability in Ohio. The cost: US$17,000.

Friends have started a GoFundMe account to assist them.

Having a service dog for Mila “would be life-changing,” says her mother Kristina.

Dravet syndrome is genetic and incurable, with developmental delays.

WATCH: (July 12, 2013) Parents hoping to turn to pot to save their daughter’s life

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