A 17-pound beagle named Belle is more than man's best friend. She's a lifesaver. Belle was in Washington, D.C., on Monday to receive an award for biting onto owner Kevin Weaver's cell phone to call 911 after the diabetic Ocoee man had a seizure and collapsed.
''There is no doubt in my mind that I'd be dead if I didn't have Belle,'' said Weaver, 34, whose blood sugar had dropped dangerously low. Belle had been trained to summon help in just those circumstances.
She was the first canine recipient to win the VITA Wireless Samaritan Award, given to someone who used a cell phone to save a life, prevent a crime or help in an emergency, the Orlando Sentinel reported Monday.
Weaver first heard about service dogs while he was working as a flight attendant after befriending a frequent passenger who taught dogs to help diabetic patients. Using their keen sense of smell, the animals can detect abnormalities in a person's blood-sugar levels.
The dog periodically licks Weaver's nose to take her own reading of his blood-sugar level. If something seems off to her, she will paw and whine at him.
''Every time she paws at me like that I grab my meter and test myself,'' Weaver said. ''She's never been wrong.''
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