Dog can smell diabetic danger

Carolyn Maxwell with the book she wrote about her diabetic alert dog Devo. Picture: KYLIE ESLERA WHIPPET in a green jacket is Carolyn Maxwell’s constant companion whenever she does her grocery shopping at Lavington.

But Devo often confounds new supermarket employees who want to know why he’s allowed in the store.

Devo is a diabetic alert dog, who can detect when Miss Maxwell’s blood sugar levels are getting low.

He lets her know by jumping up on her that it’s time to test herself.

Miss Maxwell has had her special companion for five years, and takes him wherever she goes.

“It takes forever to do the groceries sometimes,” she said with a smile.

“People seem really interested in what he does.

“I can tell who is new at the shops because they don’t know the story behind Devo and that he’s allowed to come with me wherever I go.”

To explain his role, Miss Maxwell has published a children’s book about the exploits of Devo and some of his animal friends.

The dogs help ensure low blood sugar is detected early, to prevent diabetic attacks.

The proceeds will support Paws for Diabetes, the group that helped Miss Maxwell obtain her helper, as well as animal rescue charities.

Devo has been trained since he was a pup to smell changes in the chemical composition of Miss Maxwell’s skin, able to tell when her blood sugar is low.

To start Devo’s training, Miss Maxwell had to safely lower her blood sugar slightly, wipe her skin with a cloth, then send that cloth to the dog trainer.

Miss Maxwell was able to meet Devo after becoming involved with the Paws for Diabetics group.

“There are a lot of diabetic people and having one of these dogs can be really useful for some people,” she said.

Miss Maxwell and other members of the Paws for Diabetes committee will be speaking to the Albury-Wodonga Diabetes Support group on January 23.

“We really want to get the word out about the Paws for Diabetes group,” Miss Maxwell said.

“Having a medical assistance animal is a big responsibility but they can also be extremely helpful and can significantly improve the quality of life for some people.”

Miss Maxwell’s books can be bought from Dymocks in Albury or from Todd’s Tasty Treats stores in Albury and Wodonga.

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