Diabetes-Detecting Dog Saves Man's Life

By: CBS News (Posted by Melissa Brunner)
By: CBS News (Posted by Melissa Brunner)
(CBS)

(CBS)

(CBS News) A service dog trained to detect low blood sugar in people who have diabetes is credited with saving a Waterloo, Ind. man's life.

Jeff Hoffmeister's service dog Kira woke him up in the middle of the night when his blood sugar was at dangerously low levels.

"She kept persisting and finally ended up lying on top of me and licking my face to wake me up so I could get something to eat and bring my blood sugar up," he told CBS affiliate WANE in Ft. Wayne, Ind.

Diabetes mellitus is a group of diseases that are caused when the body is unable to create or use insulin. As a result, people have high blood sugar levels which can lead to health problems. About 25.8 million adults and children had diabetes in 2010 in the United States, according to the American Diabetes Association. That's 8.3 percent of the population. Another 79 million, however, had prediabetes. If untreated, it can cause eye disease, liver disease and a host of other health problems.

Hoffmeister's 6-year-old Golden Retriever has been trained to sniff out low blood sugar levels. She hasn't left his side since the family got her from a non-profit group called Power Paws Assistance Dogs in Scottsdale, Ariz.

"It's a great comfort to me," he said. "I know it's a comfort to my wife. You know she always used to worry about me at night going low."

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