Service Dog Helps Swimmer In Remarkable Way
Lisa Krantz, Express-News
Dakota, a service labradoodle, is a life line to his owner, Ben Ownby. As Ownby swims laps, Dakota keeps a watchful eye on him should he sense his owner's need for assistance. Ownby, a freshman swimmer for Churchill High School, was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes when he was 17 months old. He must manually inject insulin seven to eight times a day, My San Antonio reports. Since he is also allergic to adhesives, Ownby can't use automated continuous glucose monitors or insulin pumps that must be attached to the body.
With Dakota, though, that's a non-issue. Apparently, the labradoodle can sense on Ownby's breath or sweat whether his blood-sugar levels are too high or low, even when Ownby is in the pool. When they're high, Dakota tugs on a bracelet that Ownby wears. When low, Dakota jumps on his owner to alert him to check his levels.
Ownby's father, Bob, said that before they got Dakota, they had some jarring experiences where his levels were too low and Ownby didn't know where he was, or why he was there. "It's almost like he's drunk," he said.
They discovered Dakota's ability to sense the low or high levels during a conversation with Ownby's school principal. Ownby began slurring his speech, when Dakota jumped on him, and then onto his principal. Sure enough his levels were at 28, far below the target level of 70.
Ownby said Dakota has alerted him hundreds of times over three years, and has only been wrong two or three times.
"I think it's amazing," he said. "He's so much more than a dog."
Photos by Lisa Krantz, Express News