Smart Service Dog Saves Veteran from Coma

Posted by & filed under Freekibble, Stories.

by Bethany Meissner

dog stops assault
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Photo Credit: WFIE

For most people, being woken up by their pets isn’t a reason to celebrate. However, for Iraq war veteran Michael Barrentine, being woken up by his dog is a lifesaver.


According to WFIE 14 News, Michael is a severe diabetic. Luckily, his dog, Gunner, is able to warn him when he’s about to slip into a diabetic coma. During the night of Tuesday, February 7, Gunner did just that. Michael’s blood sugar became dangerously low, but Michael woke up to Gunner licking his face. 


Michael explained Gunner’s behavior to WFIE reporters. “He actually can catch my blood sugars changing before my body would even pick it up.” Apparently this was the third time that Gunner has saved Michael’s life by alerting him to dangerously low blood sugar. That’s not all that Gunner does. According to Michael, “He’s picking up on chemical imbalances in my body. That’s you know, when he wakes me from nightmares. He knows because adrenaline starts pumping through my body.”


Michael and Gunner live in Evansville, IN where Michael is the President of the nonprofit Soldier Dogs for Independence. The organization helps both veterans and shelter dogs in need of homes – two things we love! Soldier Dogs for Independence works with local shelters to choose dogs who are a good fit. Veterans who already have a dog can enroll with their own dog if the organization approves. Then the organization works with the dogs and veterans for 24 weeks. Afterward, the dogs are able to be tested for their AKC Canine Good Citizen and Public Access Test. In addition, the organization provides local trainers and lifetime help for their “adopted Soldier Dog,” as they call the service dogs. They also post some adorable photos on Facebook!


We’re not only impressed by Gunner, but also impressed by Michael and his group. Dogs like Gunner are further proof that shelter animals have so much left to give – especially to help those who have already given so much.


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