Metro Woman Trains Shelter Animals to Save Lives
Photo: Video by kmtv.com
Omaha, NE -- Their faces, undeniably cute. They're man's best friend but these two pups from the Pottawattamie County Animal Shelter will be more than just a companion, they'll be a life saver. "We saw a need for people to have these diabetic alert dogs." That's why Jamie Cook started her foundation Heads Up Hounds.
Normally an alert dog will set you back about $20,000 with a waiting list that stretches three years. "Why was it taking 2-3 years for people to get these dogs trained?" said Cook. "Why was it costing so much money and what could we do in looking at that process to do it a little bit differently?" So Cook started looking at animal shelters. That's where she found Jackson and Jonah, two Border Collie brothers. They'll go through a six month extensive training program, much less than a couple years of waiting since they're already grown. Their price tag, also much less, about $5,000. The dog's smell, 100,000 times better than a human. It's so sensitive they'll be able to detect the smell in their owner's saliva.
That's key in detecting when the owner's blood sugar drops. "It's really very-very simple. What you're doing is teaching the dog - when you smell this particular smell, do this thing and so that thing can be anything." Anything from pressing an alarm, ringing a bell to a subtle nudge of the hand. "People who have diabetes don't really want to draw a lot of attention to their disease so it's something that will be very obvious for the person to recognize but for everyone who's sitting around, they may not know that anything is going on."