Brian Messe, 23, of Syracuse has a new puppy that gives more than wet kisses. It could actually save his life.
Messe has had diabetes since he was two and a half-years-old. Changes in his blood glucose level would leave him dizzy, shaky and delirious. His new yellow lab Ziggy, a service dog, can alert him before those symptoms set in.
"It already has changed it. Just last night he woke me up twice with a low blood sugar and then again with a high because I had over corrected for the low," says Messe.
Lead trainer for Service Dogs by Warren Retrievers, Sheri Campbell, says the dogs are bred and trained starting at 7 weeks old.
"It's kind of like training a bomb dog or a drug dog. You present them with an odor and then you teach them the response you want when they smell that odor," says Campbell.
When Messe's glucose levels are low, Ziggy will nudge him with his nose and when they're high he'll paw at him.
Service Dogs by Warren Retrievers don't just help diabetics.
"We do diabetes, seizures, autism, aspergers, PTSD, traumatic brain injury, any of the invisible disabilities," says Campbell.
Trainers come to your home for four days of intensive training and leave you with a constant companion that knows your body better than you do.
"You read the stories and read about different families experiences and it's different. It's moving when it comes to real life and it's actually your life that it's changing," says Messe.