One loyal service dog is being credited with saving his owner’s life when she was miles away, baffling experts as to how he did it.
Sadie Brooks is a very young girl with down’s syndrome and Type 1 Diabetes, and Hero is the service dog she was given shortly after her birth. A puppy at the time, Hero and Sadie are growing up together.
Hero’s main job as a service dog is to use his amazing sense of smell to indicate to Sadie’s parents the state of her blood sugar levels. If her blood sugar is too high, he offers her parents his right paw. If her blood sugar is too low, he offers his left paw.
Yet, as good as Hero is at his job, it’s clear that what is most important to him is the bond he shares with his tiny human friend. They play together, sleep near each other, and are the best possible friends.
While they are usually inseparable, Hero does have to stay at the family home in Pleasant Grove, Utah, while Sadie was at her special needs class at Deerfield Elementary School some five miles away.
Michelle, Sadie’s mother, said she noticed that out of nowhere, Hero became very distraught. He was pacing around the home and whining, the exact sort of behavior he’ll show when Sadie is in distress.
As she told KUTV News:
“He’s normally a very quiet dog. Whining is not in his protocol. But he just started whining and he would not stop.”
Michelle knew that there was no way he could “smell” Sadie at her school, but she couldn’t get past the unusual behavior of the dog.
Michelle called the school anyway and spoke to Sadie’s teacher Kimberly Stoneman and asked her to check Sadie’s blood sugar levels.
Eager to ease the mother’s concern, Kimberly checked Sadie’s blood sugar and found that she was at 122, a normal level. However, not even an hour later, Sadie’s blood sugar plummeted to 82.
Luckily, thanks to the heads-up from Hero, Kimberly and the head teacher Caroline Knadler, were prepared and able to help Sadie. However they, along with Hero’s trainer KC Owens, were flabbergasted by the long-distance warning from the dog.
Dogs have a remarkable sense of smell, that behaves a lot more like a superpower than many might think. Scientists believe that, given the right conditions, they can identify scents from miles away.
Yet, what’s most incredible about this story is that Hero was able to warn Michelle about Sadie’s trouble before it happened.
Hero’s trainer said that while it’s possible that Hero could pick up the scent from miles away, it isn’t certain that’s what happened in this case.
As KC Owens told KUTV:
“How do dogs know when their owners are coming home? … There’s another piece of it, that I call, ‘God only knows.'”
According to the Sadie’s Hero Facebook page, this isn’t an isolated incident. Hero has done what they now call “long-distance alerts” numerous times.
Dogs can tell, well in advance, when their owners are on their way home. They can sense catastrophic natural disasters well in advance of technology. Other service dogs, such as those assigned to veterans with PTSD, can sense when their owners are having a PTSD-related nightmare and wake them up.
Modern dogs evolved from wild canines to join humanity as companions and helpers. There’s no way to know if these amazing animals feel emotions the way that we do, but there is no denying that the connection dogs and their humans share is deep and powerful. How lucky we are to have them.