Service dog helps BYU student detect POTS symptoms

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BYU student Sophie Cranney’s service dog, Cinder, is trained to detect symptoms of a medical condition that can cause irregularities with blood pressure and heartbeat.

Cinder is a 3-year-old standard poodle who’s lovable, playful and at times, a little bit naughty. However, despite Cinder’s flaws, Sophie wouldn’t be here today without her loyal companion.

When Sophie was 17, a severe car crash caused her to form a condition called Postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS). This is where blood flow is reduced when a person stands up. The condition can cause fainting and heartbeat issues — that’s where Cinder comes in.

Cinder has been trained to detect symptoms of POTS, officially making her a service animal. 

Sophie said a lot people have misconceptions about service animals. So, she started a TikTok account, @sophiecranney, to educate others on the importance service animals have on people’s lives.

“I’ve just been trying to use my platform to spread as much awareness as possible about service dogs,” she said. “What questions are appropriate to ask, which aren’t, things like that.” As of March 2023, she has nearly 135,000 followers.

One of Sophie’s neighbors, Abagail Peterson, said she was inspired by Sophie’s accomplishments despite her challenges.

“Her story and the things that she’s gone through is so inspiring and makes me want to be more positive about life,” she said.

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