Service dogs part 2: Hypoglycemia/diabetes
This is the second in our series about service dogs and the important work they do.
Service dogs assist individuals in a variety of ways. There are the more commonly recognized guide dogs that assist the blind or visually impaired, as well as dogs that assist the deaf or hard of hearing by alerting their owners of alarms and other important sounds. Service dogs also assist the physically disabled by retrieving objects, pulling wheel chairs, turning off light switches and performing other tasks to help in everyday activities.
In addition, there are service dogs that assist with invisible disabilities, such as diabetes and anxiety, alerting a person of a physiological change. These dogs are able to sense a variation within their owners and react accordingly, for instance seeking out another human in the case of their owner collapsing into a seizure.
We wanted to learn more about how service dogs help their owners on an everyday and personal basis, so we asked several service dog owners to share their stories with us.
Also check out Part I: Hearing-Impaired Service Dogs of the series.
Sofia Ramirez and Monty
Sofia and Monty’s relationship began very typically. Sofia bought Monty, the now 3-year-old long-haired Miniature Dachshund, as a potential show dog. But when Sofia was diagnosed with hypoglycemia soon after getting Monty, she noticed that he would react strangely whenever she had a fainting spell or developed a headache. It was at that point that Sofia decided Monty would make for a great service dog.
After some extensive training, Monty began to help keep an eye on Sofia’s blood sugar levels. Should her blood sugar drop and she become faint or shaky, Monty will alert Sofia to take her medication. And should Sofia ever pass out or become unresponsive, he has been trained to seek outside help.
“I do use a meter, however it's easier to forget using a meter than it is to forget a dog trying to get your attention,” Sofia said. “If it weren't for Monty, I probably wouldn't be here right now. He's prevented me from many a situation where I may not have been able to receive assistance should my blood sugar have dropped.”
Read the third and last article article of this series: Guide Dogs.