It should come as no surprise that four-legged friends can benefit humans. From the increased level of physical activity owners receive to the emotional coping assistance that pets can offer, adding a furry pal to your household can provide great happiness. But did you also know that some pets can help individuals manage illnesses?
Sarah Breidenbach, 27, developed Type 1 diabetes as a child and had always been able to manage her symptoms until one night when her blood sugar dropped dramatically, causing a seizure. After the incident, her doctor recommended a furry prescription named Moxie, a 5-year-old service dog who can smell when Breidenbach's blood sugar level changes.
"We don't know exactly what that (smell) is," Alan Peters, founder of Can Do Canines, told the Minneapolis Star Tribune. "There's a chemical change – and a certain scent happens."
Can Do Canines is a training organization in Minneapolis that provides pups for those in need. While dogs who can alert owners of diabetic changes are available, the organization says that the want and need for these canines are on the rise.
When a diabetic's blood sugar level drops below 80, his or her dog goes into alert mode by jumping, whining and pacing.
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