Wednesday, 8 August 2007

Pint-sized Chihuahua sounds blood sugar alert

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A few days ago, I blogged about Sally, the fabulous hypo-detecting dog from the UK. Here's a similar story from right here in the US, and boy does it show you what big things one little dog can do! Pint-sized Chihuahua, Coyote, lives with human mom Katherine Caldwell in California. The five-year-old, nine-pound pooch alerts Katherine, a diabetic, whenever her blood sugar drops below 70 or rises above 150.

Coyote, a specially trained service dog (Katherine's second), is able to smell the change and alert his owner. "He starts nagging me: pacing, barking, nipping, licking, pushing me," explains Katherine. If she's asleep at the time, she says, Coyote gets quite frantic until she awakens. If her blood sugar gets to 68, Katherine says, "he's going crazy."

Coyote even knows how to use a special bite pager. When he holds the device in his mouth and bites down, a signal goes out to the emergency services and an ambulance is dispatched. Caldwell says Coyote has successfully activated the pager twice so far. Not only that, Coyote has been a busy boy with an important sideline: he has fathered two more certified service dogs that have inherited his superior sense of smell and sensitive demeanor. There are hopes for more soon. Good luck with that, Coyote, but don't neglect Mom.

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