Saturday 3 December 2016

‘There will never be another Charlie’ – family of girl with special needs left ‘devastated’ by loss of family dog

Meadhbh McGrath

Published 10/06/2016 | 18:24

Brianna Lynch, who suffers from epilepsy, pictured with her dog Charlie
Brianna Lynch, who suffers from epilepsy, pictured with her dog Charlie

A five-year-old girl with Autism Spectrum Disorder has been left “devastated” following the sudden death of her beloved Great Dane, Charlie.

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Brianna Lynch, from Killaloe, Co Clare, had a special bond with the family pet, who helped to detect the little girl’s epileptic seizures about 20 minutes before each episode.

Charlie would pin her gently against a wall until someone else could come to her assistance.

After a story about Brianna and her gentle giant appeared in the Clare Champion, Charlie’s life-saving abilities became known around the world and were featured in national and international media.

But since losing her dearest friend, Brianna’s mother Arabella said she is heartbroken.

“Brianna is still looking for Charlie. When Charlie died I explained it to her and told her to say goodbye to Charlie. She hugged him, cuddled into him and was rubbing him,” she told the Irish Examiner.

“I don’t think she fully realises he is gone, she knows he is not here.”

Although Charlie was just six years old, he developed gastric dilatation-volvolus (GDV), commonly known as bloat, which typically affects larger breeds of dog.

The Great Dane also suffered from an irregular heart beat, and was deemed too weak for surgery.

“I never met a dog with a heart as kind and as big as Charlie’s. Charlie absolutely loved Brianna to bits. Charlie was Brianna’s guardian angel,” Arabella said.

“I don’t think there will ever be another Charlie. I don’t know what we will do without him.”

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