JJ Helps Doctors Monitor Little Girl During Surgery - Care-A-Lot Pet Supply
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JJ Helps Doctors Monitor Little Girl During Surgery

JJ watching over KK before her surgery. (Shawn Rocco / Duke Medicine)
JJ watching over KK before her surgery. (Shawn Rocco / Duke Medicine)

When she was just a puppy, JJ was adopted from a shelter by the group Eyes, Ears, Nose and Paws, a nonprofit in Chapel Hill, NC that provides families with dogs trained to sense things such as high or low blood sugar or impending seizures. It was there that JJ was trained in the ability to sense potentially life-threatening reactions from a rare disorder called mastocytosis.

JJ became paired with a young girl named Kaelyn Krawczyk, also known as KK, who suffered from this disorder that can be triggered by ordinary, everyday activities.

With KK, her mastocytosis can start a reaction simply from being too hot, too cold, too stressed, or just being fatigued. Each reaction can range from feeling uncomfortable to life-threatening drops in blood pressure, leading to abdominal pain, vomiting, and difficulty breathing.

When KK's parents originally began their search for a dog that could help alert them to oncoming reactions, they were told repeatedly that dogs just aren't trained to deal with KK's disorder or with someone so young.

Thankfully, KK's parents managed to find the Eyes, Ears, Nose and Paws program, who provided them with JJ, a 2-year-old rescue dog trained to give advance notice of the reactions of mastocytosis.

The two became inseparable, and when JJ sensed a reaction might be close, she would attempt to get KK or her parents’ attention by jumping, barking, and tugging at clothing.

"She is the reason why we can sleep at night, she is the reason why KK can have a more normal life, and that might not seem like a lot, but when you have to restrict your child from normal every day activities, the ability to do anything more is just phenomenal," said KK's mother.

When KK started getting regular kidney infections, doctors wanted her to undergo surgery to treat the problem. But the process of going to sleep and emerging from anesthesia can be very high stress for someone in KK's situation. So it was suggested that JJ follow the doctors in to the OR and monitor the girl through her surgery.

While it sounded crazy to some people to allow a dog in to an operating room, ultimately it was decided that the benefits outweighed the risks, and JJ eagerly joined KK's doctors in monitoring her through her successful surgery.

Most doctors might still maintain hesitation about allowing a dog in to a typically sterile environment like an operating room, but KK's parents were just thankful that JJ could be there for their daughter, just as she always has been.

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