Life With Kolumbo, My Hypoglycemia Alert Dog

Kolumbo's warning comes in the form of slobber kisses.

| Oct 19, 2011

It is raining today. Kolumbo, my hypoglycemia alert dog, hates the rain. I think I have the only Labrador in the world that hates getting wet.

I opened the screen door this morning to feel the breeze and hear the rain. Unfortunately, while the door was open, a fly decided to come inside. When I say that Kolumbo is a lazy dog, I really mean it. He lay on his bed and watched the fly go around and around. then opened his mouth, thinking that the fly might just go in. I heard the snap of his teeth as he tried to get the fly.

Last night when I was sleeping, I felt a rough spot on my cheek. I rubbed it away. But I felt it again, then a slobber kiss. My daughter, Punkin, does not kiss like that. I opened one eye to see two brown eyes looking at me from about two inches away. Then I smelled doggie breath. Oh, such a nice doggie, to give me kisses in the night time, I thought.

Then again. The rough thing on my cheek. What was going on? I mumbled a word, but I didn't know what it was. Another slobber kiss, and now my cheek was wet.

WAIT---I know this. Kolumbo is telling me my blood sugar is low. He is alerting me at night. I open both eyes to see him sitting on the bed beside me. He sees both my eyes are open and kisses me again on the cheek. By the way, he usually only gives kisses on the chin.

I go in the bathroom and test. YEP--super dog did it again. I get a regular soda from the refrigerator upstairs and sit back on my bed. Kolumbo is sitting on my bed still, waiting for his treat. I give him some cereal that I have inside my nightstand.

He finally goes to his bed, and I hear him let out a big sigh. This is the sign that my blood sugar is back up to a safe level. I know it is safe for me to go back to sleep.

I woke up in the morning and went downstairs. Punkin usually clears off the coffee table before bed because Kolumbo thinks he has "free rein" to eat what he finds there. Well, it wasn't cleared off last night. I find pieces of a yellow box that used to say, "64 colors included." There are bits of it all around the living room. He ate a box of crayons. Nothing like picking up colorful, speckled potty when he "goes."

When Punkin was getting ready for school today, she got a sock out of the dryer and found a piece of caramel popcorn attached to the inside. I told her it was clean so she could eat it, but she rolled her eyes and put it on the coffee table. Well, guess who found enough energy to jump up and grab that piece of popcorn before I could throw it in the trash? Yes, Mr. Lazy Dog, who waits for a fly to go in his mouth. Guess he just wants guaranteed food!

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Categories: Alert Dog, Diabetes, Food, Hypoglycemia, Low Blood Sugar, Pets

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Posted by Anonymous on 19 October 2011

Enjoyable story, keep the doggie stories coming! : ) - Kcutler

Posted by Anonymous on 27 October 2011

The writer should not be going upstairs for a soda when her blood sugar is low. She should always have glucose tablets at her bedside to correct a low blood sugar after her dog alerts her. She could also keep a juice box at her bedside.

Posted by Anonymous on 27 October 2011

What a lovely story, keep writing about Kolumbo. How did he get his name?


Posted by Anonymous on 27 October 2011

I love this doggie story. I think diabetes alert dogs are wonderful ...whether they're trained to do that or not! I had a beautiful little female Schnauzer for many years that was alert to my low blood sugar. She would often wake me in the middle of the night by licking my face and gently pawing on my chest. Sure enough...she was right! Every time this happened and I woke up enough to check the blood sugar...I'd be WAY low! I considered her to be a real life saver...a gift from God...I miss her greatly.

Posted by Kathy on 27 October 2011

What a nice story. Diabetes alert dogs are such a good idea. They can allow diabetics and their parents to sleep a little better at night. I have read that they are just as accurate and can detect low blood sugars before a continuous monitor or finger stick can. And they are a much more lovable thing to have attached to you!

Posted by Anonymous on 27 October 2011

I had the smartest Labrador Retreiver in the world who more than once woke me up in the middle of the night for Hypoglycemia. (No Training needed, either!) Unfortunately he got old and we had to put him down... :O( it was one of the saddest days in my life...

My new Lab is the dumbest one in the world and I don't know if she would be smart enough to even notice. (Actually she probably would they seem to have a native sense for it!) She'd probably be the crayon eater as well...she doesn't like wind or rain either.. so make that two water dogs who don't like water. ! I do know if I kept sugar at my bedside as suggested, she would eat it though! I luckily can make it to the fridge even with a reading in the 30's.

Both of my dogs, smart and dumb were as lazy as the one in the story though. It is part of what makes Labs great.

Labradors smart or dumb are the best dogs in the world.. bar none... nice story! Hopefully more diabetics will take notice and rescue a few!

Posted by Anonymous on 27 October 2011

My Gidget has woke me 3 times now. Kisses at first,but then scratches if I don't move quick enough for her. She's a rescue- no training for this at all. I guess she's just paying her mommy back for loving her.
She's a Shih Tzu, by the way.

Posted by Florian on 27 October 2011

It sounds like Kolumbo would be more fun than a continuous glucose monitor. I wonder if Medicare would cover the cost and supplies for a Hypo Dog like Kolumbo. They don't cover a CGM.

Posted by Anonymous on 27 October 2011

what a great story and a super-smart loving dog.
You are lucky to have each other!!!!

Posted by Anonymous on 27 October 2011

I had a cat that did it not only for glucose lows but when the power was out and my oxygen tank or cpap went out. When was 16 years old, he stayed awake every night for 6 weeks after I had sinus surgery and couldn't have anything in my nose. About 2 weeks later, I stayed up with him all night until he passed away in my arms. I think I wore him out. My new kitten, plays by the bed if I am feeling bad, and makes trips around me on the bed- but doesn't wake me up. Maybe when he is older he will.

Posted by Anonymous on 28 October 2011

This is a wonderful story, and I have read other places that dogs can detect which is wonderful. I did want to comment, as a CDE, that would recommend having a source of glucose at your bedside so that you don't have to get up and go to a refrigerator. This could be glucose gel or an unopened soda. The farther you have to walk in a hypoglycemic state, the more risk of a fall.

Posted by Anonymous on 28 October 2011

I have a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. She's going to be 3 next week and almost from the first day we got her she has woken me when 'm sleeping if my BG is either way high or way low. If I'm just sitting on the couch reading a book, or watching TV, she seems to detect when my BG is off - either up or down. I find it amazing that she can do this, since she has never had any training for this. I know dogs are able to detect thousands of different smells with their noses. I'm so glad--and so is my husband--that our pup knows just when to alert me.

Posted by Anonymous on 30 October 2011

Great story. I once owned a Shepard that, when my sugar became dangerously low as I layed on the floor in my hallway, she continued to lick my face until I got up and had some orange juice nearby. There was no training, rather, instinct. That dog, like all pets I've owned, was from a shelter. Win/win. Yes, keep the tabs or juice nearby and count your blessings for all the times and incidents we pull through with or without others' assistance. BTY, check again on the coverage for the continuious BG monitor. BC now covers them.

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