Two service dogs take a long drive to Walla Walla
WALLA WALLA, Wash - Winston and his friend Bohawk have just moved to our area for work. They're trained as service dogs and their trainer, Sheri Campbell, drove them out from Virginia this week.
Campbell has known them since they were pups, "Each of [them] is customized to each family, and each individual," she said, "They can save lives."
Winston was custom-trained to recognize low-blood sugar. He's come to Washington to help Tracee Anderson, who has had Type 1 Diabetes since she was 19.
"Never ever can you get away from paying attention to your diabetes," Anderson said, "It's 24/7."
This is why Winston needs to go wherever she does. He even goes to work with her.
"I've already taken him with me to meetings," Anderson said, laughing, "He just goes under the table, sits at my feet, and just relaxes. Then, when its time to go, we get up and we go."
When her blood-sugar is low, Winston nudges and paws at her to let her know its time to eat. Right now. And he won't let up until they both get a snack. As they've become acquainted, they've learned that Winston's nose is faster than her Continuous Glucose Monitor (CGM).
"Winston's going to be my first alert and my CGM is going to be my backup."
And that's exactly how Campbell says it's suppose to be. Her team teaches the dogs to use their heightened senses to assist all kinds of people with invisible disabilities, who might not look like they need help even when in distress, "Things like Autism, Diabetes, seizure disorders, and PTSD."
The dogs Campbell and her agency, SDWR, train have ongoing training. She will head back to Virginia at the end of the week, but she'll be back.
"We do training sessions with them monthly," she said, "[the new owners] have to fill in a report every two weeks and get it back to us."
And Anderson says it's all worth it, "I really am blown away at just how special he is... I just couldn't be more happy."
For more information about the service dogs that Campbell and her team train, check out www.sdwr.org.