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[IP] Service Dogs for Low BG
I have a very special dog that wakes my husband when I am low. If he is not
around, she tries to warn me. A few months before my wedding I woke up and
felt a little low, took a shower then on my way to the kitchen fell onto the
bricks by the fireplace while I had a seizure, I hit my head, broke my foot
and sprained both ankles, I did manage to crawl the rest of the way to the
kitchen, drank some soda then tested at 18.
After my trip to the hospital I began to realize that Kimba was doing her
funny little dance trying to get my attention. A few weeks after my wedding
it happened again, but I noticed her before I got in the shower, went out
and tested and sure enough I was at 25, so from now on I always "listen" to
what my dog has to say. I spend a lot of time training my dogs for
obedience, herding and other performance events, so I think because she has
spent so much time with me, she gets a sense when a seizure is on the way,
but I have never tried to train her to do this.
I am including an e-mail sent to me from a friend who didn't believe in my
low bg sensing dog until she read this true story in a book. So I thought I
would pass it on to anyone who is interested. Beware it may make you tear
OF DOGS AND ANGELS
During my years in animal welfare work - I served as
the president of the American Society for the Prevention of
Cruelty to Animals - I have heard wonderful stories about
the power of the human-animal bond. One of my favorites is
about a girl and her very special dog.
When the girl was born, her parents were stationed with
the U.S. Army overseas. The tiny baby spiked a fever of 106
degrees and when they couldn't help her at the military
base, the baby and her family were flown home to the United
States where she could receive the proper medical care.
The alarming fever kept recurring, but the baby
survived. When the episode was over, the child was left
with 13 different seizure causes, including epilepsy. She
had what was called Multiple Seizure Syndrome and had
several seizures every day. Sometimes she stopped
As a result, the little girl could never be left alone.
She grew to be a teenager and if her mother had to go out,
her father or brothers had to accompany her everywhere,
including to the bathroom, which was awkward for everyone
involved. But the risk of leaving her alone was too great
and so, for lack of a better solution, things went on in
this way for years.
The girl and her family lived near a town where there
was a penitentiary for women. One of the programs there was
a dog-training program. The inmates were taught how to
train dogs to 1) foster a sense of competence and 2) as a
job skill for the time when they left the prison. Although
most of the women had serious criminal backgrounds, many
made excellent dog trainers and often trained service dogs
for the handicapped while serving their time.
The girl's mother read about this program and contacted
the penitentiary to see if there was anything they could do
for her daughter. They had no idea how to train a dog to
help a person in the girl's condition, but her family
decided that a companion animal would be good for the girl,
as she had limited social opportunities and they felt she
would enjoy a dog's company.
The girl chose a random-bred dog named Queenie and,
together with the women at the prison, trained her to be an
But Queenie had other plans. She became a "seizure-
alert" dog, letting the girl know when a seizure was coming
on, so that the girl could be ready for it.
I heard about Queenie's amazing abilities and went to
visit the girl's family and meet Queenie. At one point
during my visit, Queenie became agitated and took the girl's
wrist in her mouth and started pulling her towards the
living room couch. Her mother said, "Go on now. Listen to
what Queenie's telling you."
The girl went to the couch, curled up in a fetal
position, facing the back of the couch and within moments
started to seize. The dog jumped on the couch and wedged
herself between the back of the couch and the front of the
girl's body, placing her ear in front of the girl's mouth.
Her family was used to this performance, but I watched in
open-mouthed astonishment as the girl finished seizing and
Queenie relaxed with her on the couch, wagging her tail and
looking for all the world like an ordinary dog, playing with
Then the girl and her dog went to the girl's bedroom as
her parents and I went to the kitchen for coffee. A little
while later, Queenie came barreling down the hallway,
barking. She did a U-turn in the kitchen and then went
racing back to the girl's room.
"She's having a seizure," the mother told me. The
girl's father got up, in what seemed to me a casual manner
for someone whose daughter often stopped breathing, and
walked back to the bedroom after Queenie.
My concern must have been evident on my face because
the girl's mother smiled and said, "I know what you're
thinking, but you see, that's not the bark Queenie uses when
my daughter stops breathing."
I shook my head in amazement. Queenie, the self-taught
angel, proved to me once again how utterly foolish it is to
suppose that animals don't think or can't communicate.
Chicken Soup for the Dog & Cat Lover's Soul
by Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, Marty Becker, D.V.M.
and Carol Kline
Copyright 1999 Canfield and Hansen. All rights reserved.
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