Back in olden times, a dog had to run several miles to seek help for their master; however, today’s technology makes getting help a lot easier. “Belle”, a Beagle, has been taught by her owner to use a cell phone to make emergency calls. When Belle’s owner Kevin Weaver of Indianapolis, IN suffered a diabetic seizure, Belle used her skills to call for help.
As Weaver lay unconscious, Belle grabbed his cell phone and bit down on the number 9 which is pre-programmed to call 911. Belle barked into the phone at the emergency dispatchers, who immediately sent help. When paramedics arrived, they found that Weaver had suffered severe hypoglycemic shock and had collapsed on the kitchen floor. As they rushed him to the hospital, Belle rode along in the ambulance.
Weaver has lived with type 1 diabetes his entire life, but has found that his seizures had begun to worsen over the previous year. He decided to educate and train his Beagle to become a diabetes alert dog. After nine months of training, Belle now is able to test Weaver’s ketone (blood sugar) levels by sniffing his nose every hour. If his ketone levels are off, she scratches his leg. If his levels are dangerous, she is able to dial 911 if Weaver is unable to.
Belle is one of the first dogs that are able to use a cell phone for dialing. She is the first non-human to receive the VITA Wireless Samaritan Award. The Cellular Telecommunications and Internet Association (CTIA) awards the VITA, Latin for "Life", award to individuals who “demonstrate the courage and instinct to think of their wireless phones as a life-saving device during demanding emergency situations.”
Belle is also the first canine to be awarded the Eli Lilly “Lilly for Life” Award which is given to “reflect the everyday achievements and major accomplishments of all people involved in the diabetes community.”