This Narcolepsy Researcher Has a Narcoleptic Dog

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Chihuahua dog sitting and crying
Photo: Evan Kafka/(c) Evan Kafka

In the world of sleep research, Dr. Emmanuel Mignot is kind of a big deal. Currently the director of the Stanford Center for Sleep Sciences and Medicine, he is perhaps most famous for a scientific breakthrough he made 16 years ago, when he found a genetic explanation for narcolepsy. And Mignot, it seems, is not the type to leave work at work: As the sleep-science site Van Winkle’s reports, he recently adopted a narcoleptic dog. 

Actually, it’s his second narcoleptic dog. The first one was a Schipperke named Bear, who died just before he adopted Watson, a Chihuahua whose original owners decided they weren’t equipped to care for a dog with a sleep disorder. And this brings up a weird question: What does narcolepsy even look like in a dog? 

Pretty similar to what it looks like in humans, as it turns out, only with more games of fetch. “Every day I play with him a little and he definitely gets big attacks,” Mignot explained to Van Winkle’s. “When we play fetch, he’ll go and get the toy and then I’ll try to take it from him — and he just falls asleep. I have to catch him as he falls over.” The things we do for our pets.