A devoted dog “saved” a sick boy’s life after she sniffed out his dangerously low blood sugar levels before he fell into a diabetic coma.
Thomas French, seven, was rushed to hospital after his two-year-old spaniel Poppy alerted his parents that he was heading into potentially deadly hypoglycaemic shock.
The lad, who has Brittle type one diabetes, had just finished his dinner when the specially trained mutt “launched” herself onto his dad’s shoulders.
And although initially, tests revealed Thomas had normal blood sugar levels, they then suddenly dropped by half without warning.
Later, the glucose in his blood fell to a “catastrophic” level but luckily doctors were able to resuscitate the lucky kid and he was thankfully discharged the next day.
Speaking about their dog’s heroics, mum-of-three Jennifer Whiberley, 37, said her son wouldn’t have survived without the pup’s intervention.
She said: “Thomas was crashing in his blood sugars quicker than the technology could tell us, but we have learnt to trust Poppy’s nose.
“I truly believe that she has saved Thomas from going into a life-threatening diabetic coma.
“She is his heartbeat at the end of the day. There’s no price tag on my son’s life. I really don’t think he would be here if it wasn’t for her.”
“I’m just so relieved we have Poppy to keep an eye on him. She allows us to sleep at night.”
Full-time mum Jennifer, from South Ockendon, in Essex, said Thomas had just finished his dinner on October 1 when Poppy’s behaviour suddenly became erratic.
She said: “It was just after he had his dinner, half an hour to 40 minutes after that, when Poppy launched herself off the sofa and jumped on my partner Jon’s back and started barking.
“Poppy usually paws the ground when Thomas is low, and sometimes she seems a bit more urgent, but she’s never been like this.
“We tested him, and his bloods were normal. But she kept going, and her nose is so precise.
“We had started to give him Haribo, and then tested him again and he was down to 3.1. And that is hypoglycemic.”
Jennifer said she monitored Thomas for a few hours before she called for an ambulance after he was physically sick.
She said: “This was going on for two hours, and I was already thinking of taking him to the hospital. And then he was sick.
“He’d had cake fondant to get his bloods up, and he really didn’t look very well.
“In the ambulance, his lips started to go blue, and he had grey bags under his eyes.
“They gave him a gluco-gel, and then they blue-lighted him. He’d dropped to 2.2., which is catastrophic.”
She added: “We don’t know what made him crash so quickly.
“When we got taken to the hospital, they checked everything we had done for his dinner and there was no reason, which is worrying.”
Jennifer said Thomas was in the hospital overnight, where doctors were able to bring his blood sugar levels under control.
She said: “He was in hospital for five to six hours before his bloods came back into range, back around the seven to eight mark, and he was finally discharged the following morning.”
Jennifer said Poppy had been specially trained by the charity Hypo Hounds to detect dangerous changes in type one diabetes sufferers like Thomas.
And after he arrived in their home in June last year, the loving pup had become smitten with the young lad, before later saving his life.
Jennifer said: “She is so lovely, and having her here with Thomas is so amazing. They’re always cuddling and playing and getting up to all kinds of mischief together.
“We have learnt to absolutely trust her and never ignore when she is trying to tell us something is wrong.”
The charities founder and CEO, Jane Pearman said: “From puppy selection it was clear that Poppy was a dog with what is called a ‘high-drive’.
“She is very clever and needs to be working her brain, so when Thomas’ family came along and mum Jennifer described Thomas as being extremely active and non-stop, we knew they would be a good match.”