What’s black and white (with just a few splotches of brown), understands French, and falls asleep at feeding times? A narcoleptic Chihuahua named Watson.
Watson’s becoming accustomed to the spotlight — he made his debut here at Scope, then went on to star in a KQED blog post. But today, Watson made it on air for The California Report. The segment begins – endearingly — with Emmanuel Mignot, MD, PhD, cooing to Watson in French. Mignot is Watson’s human and a sleep researcher known for the discovery of the gene that causes narcolepsy in dogs. (He also directs the Stanford Center for Sleep Sciences and Medicine).
Although Watson isn’t officially a Stanford dog — he’s Mignot’s pet — Mignot is hoping to use the slightly shy pup to help some of his patients, particularly children, who suffer from narcolepsy.
One of the symptoms of narcolepsy is cataplexy, a sudden loss of muscle control and Watson often suffers these attacks when he’s excited or spots tasty food.
“He looks at you with these eye half-closed and its almost like he’s just telling you, “Oh, I love you,” but in fact its because he’s having a sleep attack,” Mignot said.
Previously: Narcoleptic Chihuahua joins Stanford sleep researcher’s family, Stumbling upon circadian rhythms and Does influenza trigger narcolepsy?
Photo by Emmanuel Mignot