The Dunedin dog who is the first of his kind to work in a public hospital in New Zealand has nearly finished his first year of employment.
Nurse Brenda Ferguson has had type 1 diabetes from a young age and used to get no warning her blood sugar level was getting low.
She would wake from blackouts with cuts, bruising, swelling, black eyes and fractures.
She tried many different ways of stabilising her blood sugar levels and failed.
Then she got Pip, her diabetic alert assistance dog.
The three-year-old black Labrador has been trained to warn people with diabetes by smelling when their blood sugar is low.
At home, when he senses her blood sugar is low, he nudges her as a warning and, depending on what he senses, he fetches a cordless phone, a blood glucose testing kit, a juice or jellybeans.
“He is a complete life-saver and life-changer. I’ve got more independence now he’s amazing.”
In their first week together, he alerted her three times about low blood sugar.
At work at Dunedin Hospital, Pip is tied up in the corridor as Ms Ferguson works.
If she walks past him and her blood sugar is low, Pip will stand up.
He will have been working at the hospital for a year later this month.
Assistance Dogs New Zealand’s annual appeal week ends on Sunday. “Donate as much as you can for them to train more puppies for people in need.”
Ms Ferguson is raising the $20,000 she needs to give towards the $48,000 to buy Pip.
Otago Daily Times