We’ve all heard of therapy dogs, seeing eye dogs, and police dogs. But that’s not all that dogs can be trained for. Some dogs are trained to detect certain medical issues.
It's no question that dogs have great sniffers. There’s a reason they’re the animal that gets trained for detecting bombs and drugs. But some dogs have been trained to sniff out other things.
Katie Krampitz was first diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when she was three years old. Diabetes impacts how cells use sugar. She takes medication so her cells can get energy, but this can also easily cause her body to use all the sugar in her blood—which can make her have seizures, pass out, or go into a coma.
Katie is now 17 years old. She wants to live a normal life, but diabetes can sometimes prevent that from happening, as she has to be especially careful about what she eats and what her sugar levels are.
Recently, Katie found a new way to help her diabetes—a dog. Katie’s family decided that a dog trained to recognize her blood sugar levels would help her regulate them, which could help keep her kidneys from failing.
The was introduced to Rue. Rue is a 7-month-old black Labrador puppy. When Katie got her, Rue had already been trained to recognize the signs of a low or high blood sugar. When Katie’s levels are too low, Rue will paw at her until she does something about it. If the levels are too low, Rue will nudge and lick her.
Rue will notice the abnormalities in Katie’s levels 30 to 40 minutes before Katie feels any change. Katie shared, “I was at church one Sunday and Rue kept bothering me, but I felt fine. She wouldn’t stop, so I used a finger prick and glucometer to check my blood sugar, and it was extremely low. I could’ve passed out, had a seizure, or even gone into a coma if it hadn’t been for Rue.”
Eight months after Katie and Rue first teamed up, Katie had a doctors appointment. For the first time in the 13 years since she had been diagnosed, her numbers came back great.
Diabetes isn’t the only condition that dogs can help with. Some dogs can be trained to sniff out other conditions, like cancer. They can also predict when a person is going to have a seizure. The dogs can warn the person so they can ensure they’re not in a dangerous situation when it hits.
We’re only just beginning to understand all of the incredible things that dogs are capable of. In the meantime, they’ll just go on saving our lives as if it’s the easiest thing ever, like this police dog. He might look cute, but he know exactly what to do when he’s on the job. Check it out here.