You’ve heard it, maybe even uttered it yourself about your own dog: who rescued who? But in the case of KatieJane and her service pup, Shots, the answer is clear; her relationship with her dog saved her life.
KatieJane Brashier was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes at an early age, long before continuous glucose monitors and other technology became the norm. For years, this chronic illness threatened KatieJane’s livelihood; not knowing when her blood sugar was dropping until it was too late put KatieJane and those who loved her in a constant state of alert.
Enter Shots, the sugar sniffer.
Looking at Shots, you’d likely just have seen a happy-go-lucky pup with a love for long walks, even longer naps, and belly rubs. But Shots had a job. Shots was an official Diabetic Alert Dog, trained to detect high and low blood sugar levels in his handler, KatieJane, well before they posed a threat. In severe cases of diabetes like KatieJane’s, most symptoms of a hypoglycemic episode would show up too late for her to take action; Shots’ early detection allowed KatieJane to take the proper steps needed to restore her levels herself without the risk of becoming too incapacitated to do so. Teaming up with Shots meant KatieJane could be more independent and continue to enjoy the things she loved most: playing sports, dancing, traveling, and spending time with friends and family.
Everywhere KatieJane went, Shots followed. He attended doctors' appointments, hospital visits, and even class with KatieJane. Staying right by her side, he made sure she was okay at all times.
But it wasn’t all work and no play — Shots tagged along to band competitions, cross country meets, football games, dance recitals, volunteer, field trips, vacations, amusement parks, the movies, rodeos, zoos, museums, and anywhere an adventurous young KatieJane found herself. Shots alerted KatieJane that her blood sugar was low from across a football field and even a lake. The two were inseparable, and the bond was lifelong.
Even after KatieJane started using a continuous glucose monitor, her relationship with Shots remained close, and his loyalty to her was as strong as ever:
“Even when we retired him, even to his last day, he still alerted on my blood sugars, even at 13.5 years old,”
KatieJane recalls of her final years with her best friend,
“Shots saved my life every day and every night. He alerted on my high and low blood sugars before my meter even registered that they were off. He woke me up at night. He sat me down in hallways and grocery stores.”
After nearly a decade of service and life-saving and life-making companionship, KatieJane said her final farewell to Shots. The pair spent his last few days visiting his favorite spots by the lake, playing with his favorite toys, and of course, enjoying one last burger and ice cream cone together.
KatieJane laid Shots to rest with his nose facing her bedroom so that “he could always do the job he was born to do —to check on me.”
We are so grateful to have learned of KatieJane and Shots’s story from KatieJane’s cousin and Ollie’s own Product Manager, Rachel Clark. For more incredible stories about dogs and the humans who love them, follow @ollie on Instagram.