Today we are going to discuss Two German Shepherd Dogs that are true heroes. In 1999, we moved from Daphne, Alabama to Tulsa, Oklahoma. While our kennel was small, we still had several German Shepherd Dogs that we had to mete out to family members until we could purchase property and build kennels in Oklahoma. Two of our shepherds, Heidelberg’s Oregon v Burmak (Bismarck) and Heidelberg’s Winsome Umberb stayed with us in our hotel. In the mornings, Patty, my wife would take the two dogs to my parents’ house while we were at work and then pick them up after work.
During these trips, Patty started to notice that every time she had high or low blood sugar Bismarck would lean over the car seat and incessantly lick her face. Patty has had juvenile diabetes since she was 18-years-old. The entire family learned to trust Bismarck newly discovered ability. Whenever Bismarck alerted to sugar problems by licking Patty’s face, we made sure that she received proper treatment. Sometimes with high or low sugar blood levels diabetics will not help themselves because they become mentally confused. Therefore, family members may have to force the diabetic to test and treat their sugar blood level.
Bismarck’s talents were discovered well before the use of Service Dogs was made into law. So the use of Bismarck’s medical alert talent was not utilized outside the home and dog events. After the new Service Dog Law came into effect, Patty wanted to train a full time Diabetic Alert Service Dog, but he had to come through Champion Heidelberg’s Oregon v Burmak (Bismarck). Unfortunately Bismarck had passed, so we bred his son Champion Heidelberg’s Amazon v Whispe to Champion Heidelberg’s Querida Diamond. This litter produced Patty’s new Service Dog, Grand Champion Champion (GCh. Ch.) Heidelberg’s Kodiak v Queridad (Kodi).
Before this breeding Patty’s diabetes had progressed to the point that she was having incidents of blacking-out on regular basis, and even having diabetic events while she was driving. One day my daughter and I had just started to watch a movie, when Patty said that she was going to Wal-Mart. Two hours later, Ashley walked outside to find Patty hanging halfway out the door of her vehicle passed out and almost in a diabetic coma.
Kodi’s Service Dog training began at 6 weeks. Patty would check her sugar in the evenings and if it was high or low, she would then bring the Kodi puppy into the house and love on him until her sugar returned to normal levels.
Within time Kodi, began to react to Patty’s low or high blood sugar levels by pawing at her and basically being a complete nuisance until she checks and treats her blood sugar levels.
Kodi goes everywhere with Patty including work, restaurants, when she travels, etc. In the four years that Kodi has been a full-time Service Dog, the only serious diabetic event Patty has had is when she left Kodi at home to do some Christmas shopping in 2012. Patty had disappeared for several hours and the entire family began calling her. When she answered the phone it was obvious that her blood sugar was low and that she did not know where she was while driving her car. We finally got her to park in a parking lot and through a lot of questioning, we pinpointed her general location. Her sister found her and got her to eat dinner, and Patty recovered. The next shopping trip, Kodi went with Patty.
Kodi sleeps on the floor next to Patty and wakes her up in the middle of the night if her sugar is high or low. This is a great relief to the entire family because most diabetics slip into diabetic comas or even die while asleep. This nighttime risk for diabetics is probably because nobody is around to know they are in trouble.
There is no doubt that Kodi has saved Patty’s life on several occasions. He is our hero!
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