Diabetic alert dog saves boy's life

We've all heard stories about seeing-eye dogs who protect their owners from life-threatening situations.

But the lesser-known heroes, diabetic alert dogs, can do the same.

Quail, an English Labrador who lives with her companion Christian, a 15-year-old boy from Arizona, saved Christian's life recently when his blood sugar dropped dangerously low during a nap.

By pushing a button on the floor near the bed, Quail was able to alert Christian's mother that he was in danger.

"I was definitely shaking and sweating," Christian told Arizona Central News. "I didn’t understand what was going on."

Terry Poorten, Christian's mother, immediately brought him some orange juice and helped him recover.

"When she pressed it, I thought, 'I hope she’s right,'" Terry said about Quail pushing the alert button. Now, Terry noted, she won't ever question the dog's senses again.

Diabetic alert dogs

Robyn Abels, executive director of Power Paws Assistance Dogs, says that Quail most definitely saved the boy's life. Diabetic alert dogs cost about $22,000 each due to the fact that they require two years of extensive training. Quail has been with Christian since eighth grade, and the dog can pick up on certain chemicals that allow her to sense when Christian's blood sugar is low.

"It’s really special that she can detect when it happens," Christian said. "I love her like she’s another human, probably like a sister."

Abels notes that a dog must be at least 80 percent accurate before it is placed with a diabetic, which is about the same accuracy as a manual monitor. The dogs can also pick up the reading about 20 minutes before a meter would, said Abels. Most of the time, the dogs are 100 percent accurate.

"It made me cry and have tears," Abels said about Christian's story. "This is what they [the dogs] are supposed to do."

Source: AZ Central

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