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Watch This Service Dog Calm His Owner, Stop Her Self-Harm During Asperger’s “Meltdown”

Danielle Jacobs trained Samson to alert to depressive episodes and self-harm. We see the Rottweiler at work in this moving video.

Jeff Goldberg  |  Jun 17th 2015


For the most part, the purpose of a service dog needs little explanation. We see them in schools, stores, and airports, and we read about them in the media and see them profiled on TV. Ask someone with a service dog what their function is, and between pets and kisses, you get a general sense of their worth to their owner, and to society as a whole.

Samson comforts his human, Danielle Jacobs.

Samson comforts his human, Danielle Jacobs.

But we do not often see the service dog actually perform in a crisis moment because their very presence regularly mitigates a crisis in the first place.

But thanks to the bravery of a young woman in Arizona – and the heart-tugging compassion of her service dog – we now can see first-hand the support and love they bring in a time of dire need.

Danielle Jacobs, 24, from Tempe, has Asperger’s syndrome, a form of autism. It can cause her to have “meltdowns,” which consist of crying and repeatedly hitting herself in the face and chest with a closed fist. It is because of these episodes that Jacobs has a service dog, a 4-year-old Rottweiler name Samson, who comforts her when an episode occurs and often prevents them.

Recently, Jacobs had such an attack. Courageously, she filmed the episode on her phone. She also captured Samson coming to her rescue, using his large paws to hold Jacobs’ arms down, trying to prevent her violent blows and comforting her as she cries.

“This really happened, and it’s not easy to open myself and share what it’s like on a daily basis,” Jacobs wrote in the description of the video, which has gotten over 2.5 million views on YouTube. “This is what’s considered a meltdown. I trained him to alert to depressive episodes and self-harm.”

She trained Samson well. Very well, indeed.

Watch the video:

Via New York Daily News

About the author: Jeff Goldberg is a freelance writer in Quincy, Mass. A former editor for MLB.com and sportswriter for the Hartford Courant who covered the University of Connecticut’s women’s basketball team (Huskies!) and the Boston Red Sox, Jeff has authored two books on the UConn women: Bird at the Buzzer (2011) and Unrivaled (2015). He lives with his wife, Susan, and their rescue pup, Rocky, an Italian Greyhuahua/Jack Russell mix from a foster home in Tennessee, hence the name Rocky (as in Rocky Top).