Service dogs have been aiding and saving lives for a lot longer than many of us would ever imagine. In fact, the first recorded school for training dogs for police work was opened in 1895. Within seven years, the program had 120 men patrolling with 50-60 dogs.
These days, service animals are no longer limited to just dogs – miniature horses, ferrets, parrots, monkeys, and even boa constrictors have been used to assist people with disabilities and needs. Additionally, animals are being used for more than just police work. Their usage has expanded to working alongside those with mental, physical, intellectual, psychiatric, and sensory impairments.
All service animals receive training that is specific to the needs of the individual they are supporting, but one Labrador named Hero has proved that service training goes deeper than memorization, rewards, and obligations.
Greg and Michelle Brooks are the parents of a beautiful young girl who was born with some health complications.
“Within minutes of Sadie coming into the world, we knew something was very wrong. It’s hard to describe the devastation and fear we experienced as our baby was whisked away to another hospital to undergo a life saving surgery to connect her esophagus,” Michelle wrote on Sadie’s GoFundMe page.
As an infant, Sadie was diagnosed with Down Syndrome and Type 1 Diabetes. Her ability to monitor her blood sugar levels was a concern for the doctors because of her age and condition.
Her parents thought it best to get Sadie a diabetic alert dog who could make sure her blood sugar levels were stable at all times, and that’s when Hero joined the family.
Hero paws at Greg or Michelle’s left hand as an alert that Sadie’s blood sugar levels are dropping below 100, and their right hand when it is rising above 200.
One day, while Sadie was five miles away at school, Hero was sitting at home with Michelle when, contrary to his usual behavior, he began whining incessantly.
“He’s normally a very quiet dog,” Michelle said. “Whining is not in his protocol.”
Wanting to be cautious, Michelle called Sadie’s school to make sure her blood sugar levels were where they needed to be. At first they were, but soon after she hung up the phone, Sadie’s levels dropped from 122 to 82.
If Hero hadn’t indicated to Michelle that something might be wrong or if she had chosen to overlook his signal, Sadie could have gone into a high-risk diabetic coma.
When KC Owens, Hero’s trainer, was asked how Hero was able to detect Sadie’s state from five miles away, she answered, “I can’t explain it. It’s a God thing. I think it’s like mother’s intuition. These dogs have abilities and senses beyond our understanding.”
They do indeed! What Hero was able to do to keep Sadie alive and well was beyond amazing. He is truly a lifesaver and we are so happy Sadie is okay because of it!
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