A woman’s best friend: Diabetic mother reveals how her cocker spaniel has saved her life FOUR TIMES
Lifesaver: Cocker spaniel Hamish has saved his diabetic owner Carol Miller’s life four times
A severely diabetic mum told how her life has been saved four times by her cocker spaniel – Scotland’s first blood sugar sniffer dog.
Carol Miller, 42, was devastated when she was diagnosed with type one diabetes in May last year.
The mother-of-three’s condition is so severe she has to inject insulin five times a day and risks falling into a diabetic coma and even dying while she sleeps.
Carol, from East Kilbride, said: ‘Hamish is a real life-saver. He’s absolutely amazing.
‘Since January he’s already saved me four times.’
Carol began to suffer hypoglycemic fainting spells last year.
‘If my sugar levels drop I start to
sweat and give off a salty scent and if it’s too high I give off a sweet
smell. We can’t smell it but Hamish is always there when I need him.
Her condition grew worse and after
losing one stone in weight in just a week in May last year she was
finally diagnosed with type one diabetes, the most serious form of the
The illness means she can’t control her own blood sugar without injecting herself with insulin.
Concerned she could die in her sleep
Carol sought help from specialist dog trainers in England after reading
about diabetes detector dogs on the internet.
Carol said: “Diabetics suffer what
are known as ‘hypos’, hypoglycemic spells where you feel faint. It feels
a lot like a bad hangover.
“When I’m awake I can tell when I’m
going to have one and intervene with injections, but when I’m asleep I
have no way of knowing.
“The doctors don’t know why I developed diabetes, I’ve been unwell for a couple of years but I was only diagnosed in May.
“I saw online there were lots of
diabetes sniffer dogs being training in America and a few in England so I
looked into it.” To her horror Carol was told there were no trainers in
Miller, left, was given Hamish by dog trainer Linda McHendry from Paws-isitve Steps, who trains dogs to alert their owners when their blood sugar levels drop
So the plucky mum took it upon
herself to find an expert to take on the challenge and coincidentally
found trainer Linda McHendry, who runs Paws-itive Steps dog centre, just
a few miles from her home.
Carol said: I can’t thank Linda enough, she has done it all free of charge.
“She has never done anything like this before and couldn’t guarantee any results but she has done a brilliant job.
“I am over the moon and he’s a lovely
dog.” Linda McHendry added: “Carol has done really well with Hamish,
she does all the right things and continues his training at home.
“He’s a quick learner. We train him
out in the fields where there are many other scents so he has to
concentrate so he can pick up the changes in Carol’s sugar levels from a
fair distance and can also track her medical bag just as well.
“He a unique project for us because he’s the first in Scotland. I’m glad he is making a big difference to Carol’s life.”