The City of Xenia’s newest employee walked into her first day of work on four paws.
Sugar, a mini Aussie-Doodle who joined Xenia staff on Feb. 5, is now the full-time companion to Rodney Smith, a public service employee of 24 years who has Type 1 Diabetes. Smith will have Sugar with him at work and home, alerting him by pawing when she senses his blood sugar count is too high or too low.
“Everybody out here loves her,” Smith said. “She gets lots of attention. … You put her vest on like she’s at work and she’s calm. When you take her home and take her vest off, she is a playful puppy.”
Turning 1 year old on March 30, Sugar is young — and yet a professional through and through, city officials said.
“Rodney and Sugar are just now meeting, but the training she received has helped her warm up to him quickly,” according to a Xenia release. “Sugar is so sweet.”
Sugar recently made the long trip to Xenia from Las Vegas, where she was trained at Diabetic Alert Dogs of America. The facility trains dogs for people of all ages who live with diabetes.
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Of course, Sugar does not get her own desk in the office. However, whether Smith is working on an on-site electrical project or clearing the streets of Xenia in a plow truck, Sugar lays at his side, ready to alert him to check his levels.
During the training process, Smith said he was instructed to chew cotton balls while his blood sugars were at various highs and lows, freeze them, then send the jars to the training facility. Now, Sugar is able to detect the scent of Smith’s saliva when it drops below a blood sugar of 80 mg/dl or above 150 mg/dl.
Sugar’s detection is so accurate that she will sense out-of-range levels for other people as well, Smith said.
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