Man adopts dog with secret sniffing ability
Sassy can smell when new owner's blood sugar is off
There are thousands of successful adoption stories coming out of the Dane County Humane Society. Countless pets have found homes but News3 traveler Mark Koehn has a story, not so much about adoption but about fate.
The story begins one morning this past July; Tim Stephenson was watching the news.
"I saw her on News3, the pet of the week. Then I hear a little bit of the stories that she's not really adoptable," Stephenson said.
Ten-year-old Sassy was brought to the news station but adoptees knew older dogs can sometimes be harder to place.
"Just because she's 10 years old and she has a few problems, it doesn't mean anything. I'm not going to let her die just because of all of that," said Stephenson.
Stephenson said he wasn't going to let her die just because she was 10 years old and had a few problems, but he expected to not have to keep up with such a fast pace.
"She took me for four walks a day and then required tennis balls on top of it. So I'm thinking this is a 10-year-old dog, she's going to be easy on me. Oh no! She takes after the tennis balls like a 2-year-old pup," Stephenson said.
The two new best friends started burning up the sidewalks on the north side but their story doesn't end there.
Stephenson is a diabetic and he has to check his blood sugar every morning.
"The first thing I do in the morning, and she's got to go out and I'm like, 'Just a minute, I have to check my blood,' and she's sitting right by me and she watches the whole thing and she can smell my breath," Stephenson said.
If his blood sugar is low Sassy has to wait to go outside so he can eat something and Stephenson said Sassy knows he's eating something because his blood sugar is low.
"One night, I wake up in the middle of the night and she's throwing my blood meter on my lap and tugging on my arm," Stephenson said. "Maybe about three weeks later it happened again, and it happened again."
Stephenson said he put two and two together and thinks Sassy knows when his blood sugar is low and when it is high.
There are dogs trained to help diabetics keep track of their blood sugar, they can sense it in the breath. But Sassy was never trained. She grew up on a farm and somehow learned it on her own.
"This is pretty amazing and I'm like, 'Wait a minute, I've been waiting for a dog trained for diabetes for this long and now I've got one and all I have to do is love her to death,'" Stephenson said.
Stephenson saved Sassy and she returns the favor every day.
To buy a dog trained to sniff out diabetes it would normally cost you about $25,000.
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