Many jokes are made about narcolepsy, but it can be quite a devastating affliction... unless you have a furry friend helping to keep you on your toes!

Take, for example, Annick. The 35-year-old from Belgium suffers up to six narcolepsy attacks a day. They are so bad that she needed to remain under parental supervision, as the attacks often come at inopportune times.

Thanks to a dog named Idefix, Annick is finally getting some independence. The five-year-old mongrel is the first dog ever to be trained to give assistance to someone with a sleep disorder.

When Annick dozes off, Idefix begins gently nipping at her ankles and ears. Since narcolepsy makes Annick a deep sleeper, it can take the pooch up to a half hour to rouse her, but it will always keep going until the job is done.

"I had been handicapped by my condition for many years and now I feel like I have been given a second life," said Annick of her helpful new companion.

Dr Olivier Le Bon, who spearheaded the effort to make Idefix into a canine alarm clock, hopes more dogs will be trained to work with narcoleptics.

It sounds to us like the next great chapter in the long friendship between dogs and humans.