Diabetic Alert Dogs Save Lives - FOX 10 News | myfoxphoenix.com

Diabetic Alert Dogs Save Lives

Posted: Updated:

We've all heard of bomb-sniffing dogs, search and rescue dogs, and dogs that help the blind get around safely. But now, a new and somewhat mysterious skill has been discovered that gives our canine companions the ability to save lives in a whole new way.

Our Bruce Gordon reports.

As he walks to the train station with his partner, a Yellow Lab named Ava. 18-year-old Zeke Simon remembers his first hypoglycemic event when the blood sugar level in his then 13-year-old body suddenly plummeted.

"I don't know if scared was even the word; it was just such a quick, surreal moment. I didn't know what was happening," Simon said, "I kind of just thought I was dying in that moment. I was like, 'well, all right, I guess this is it.'"

Zeke has Type-1 diabetes, which is why his parents bought him Ava. Her job is to smell trouble, before it strikes.

On this day, Zeke is headed to the Working Dog Center at the University of Pennsylvania Veterinary School to see a very special visitor.

Debby Kay is a pioneer trainer in the field of Diabetic Alert Dogs specially trained to alert their owner to changes in their blood sugar levels before those changes reach dangerous levels that could cause brain damage.

"When they know they're having a hypoglycemic event, they'll put the cotton sample in their mouth and collect a sample in there with the saliva," Kay said.

This pooch picks up the scent through a canister hidden in Debby's pocket. The dog's job is to get her attention.

A "scent wheel" is used to train the dogs to differentiate the hypoglycemic odor from others. A canister with a saliva sample goes in one paint can-- the other cans have empty canisters inside. The wheel is spun, and the dog goes to work.

Just a few years ago, the idea of using dogs to alert diabetics to impending trouble was unheard of.

Today, the field is exploding and so is wild claims made by unscrupulous trainers.

Think about it, a purebred Labrador retriever might cost $2000. A Diabetes Alert dog costs $20,000.

Zeke volunteers at the Working Dog Center he's still fine-tuning Ava's training, but already, he says the dog has on numerous occasions awakened him from a sound sleep to alert him to dangerous drops in his blood sugar level.

"It's horrible, because you're about to go low, but it's great because you're like, wow, she really saved me right there," Simon said.

"When you see what a difference it makes in people's lives- it gives them the confidence to go out on their own," Kay said.

With a partner who can save their life...at the first "whiff' of trouble.

"Man's best friend, times ten," Simon said.

For more information, visit here: www.diabetesalertdogalliance.org/

  • Bruce Gordon ReportsMore>>

  • New Video Game Sparks Debate In South Jersey

    New Video Game Sparks Debate In South Jersey

    Friday, August 1 2014 5:30 PM EDT2014-08-01 21:30:49 GMT
    Video games may be pure fantasy, but a violent action-adventure game called "Watch Dogs" has ignited a very real debate in one South Jersey community. Watch Dog allows players to adopt the persona of a James Bond-like computer hacker, chasing an evil mastermind. People say it's chock-full of foul language, sex and violence, features dark and foreboding backdrops. The latest version, which is due out this fall may be set in Camden.
    Video games may be pure fantasy, but a violent action-adventure game called "Watch Dogs" has ignited a very real debate in one South Jersey community. Watch Dog allows players to adopt the persona of a James Bond-like computer hacker, chasing an evil mastermind. People say it's chock-full of foul language, sex and violence, features dark and foreboding backdrops. The latest version, which is due out this fall may be set in Camden.

  • Feds: 6 Philly Narcotic Cops Robbed, Kidnapped Drug Dealers

    Feds: 6 Philly Narcotic Cops Robbed, Kidnapped Drug Dealers

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 1:20 PM EDT2014-07-30 17:20:24 GMT

    Six former members of the Philadelphia Police Dept.'s narcotics unit have been federally indicted, charged with using robbery, kidnapping and other tactics to shake down more than $500,000 in cash, property and drugs from suspected drug dealers.

    Six former members of the Philadelphia Police Dept.'s narcotics unit have been federally indicted, charged with using robbery, kidnapping and other tactics to shake down more than $500,000 in cash, property and drugs from suspected drug dealers.

  • SEPTA Rider: Couple With Toddler Seemed "Out Of It" On Train

    SEPTA Rider: Couple With Toddler Seemed "Out Of It" On Train

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 12:55 AM EDT2014-07-30 04:55:19 GMT
    Camera-phone video captured a disturbing scene aboard a SEPTA subway train. The video shows a shoeless toddler in a stroller and witnesses say the adults with her seem to be "out of it." The couple was on a train on the Market-Frankford Line on Sunday morning.


    Camera-phone video captured a disturbing scene aboard a SEPTA subway train. The video shows a shoeless toddler in a stroller and witnesses say the adults with her seem to be "out of it." The couple was on a train on the Market-Frankford Line on Sunday morning.

  • Local NewsMore>>

  • Police: Boater Disappearance May Have Been Staged

    Police: Boater Disappearance May Have Been Staged

    Friday, August 1 2014 6:28 PM EDT2014-08-01 22:28:19 GMT
    Egg Harbor Township Police believe the disappearance of a boater in July may have been staged.
    Egg Harbor Township Police believe the disappearance of a boater in July may have been staged.
  • New Video Game Sparks Debate In South Jersey

    New Video Game Sparks Debate In South Jersey

    Friday, August 1 2014 5:30 PM EDT2014-08-01 21:30:49 GMT
    Video games may be pure fantasy, but a violent action-adventure game called "Watch Dogs" has ignited a very real debate in one South Jersey community. Watch Dog allows players to adopt the persona of a James Bond-like computer hacker, chasing an evil mastermind. People say it's chock-full of foul language, sex and violence, features dark and foreboding backdrops. The latest version, which is due out this fall may be set in Camden.
    Video games may be pure fantasy, but a violent action-adventure game called "Watch Dogs" has ignited a very real debate in one South Jersey community. Watch Dog allows players to adopt the persona of a James Bond-like computer hacker, chasing an evil mastermind. People say it's chock-full of foul language, sex and violence, features dark and foreboding backdrops. The latest version, which is due out this fall may be set in Camden.

  • SOGGY WEEKEND

    Friday, August 1 2014 5:24 PM EDT2014-08-01 21:24:23 GMT

    Saturday will start off unsettled, especially S&E, but towards the afternoon most of us should remain drier with light scattered showers.

    Saturday (79/68): AM Rain, PM Clouds

    Weekend, clouds will stick around throughout Saturday and Sunday as wet weather dampens the first weekend in August. Saturday will start off unsettled, especially S&E, but towards the afternoon most of us should remain drier with light scattered showers. There is a better chance for more widespread precipitation Sunday with on and off showers/thunderstorms possible.

    Saturday (79/68): AM Rain PM Clouds

    Sunday (81/68): Cloudy, Showers & T-Storms

Powered by WorldNow

KSAZ-TV & KUTP
511 W. Adams St.
Phoenix, AZ 85003

Phone: (602) 257-1234
Fax: (602) 262-0177

Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | New Terms of Service What's new | Ad Choices