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  America
Saved by the Belle, a Beagle Who Rang 911
Animal instinct ... Belle the beagle with her grateful owner, Kevin Weaver. Photo Courtesy of AP

BELLE Weaver has flown to Washington to receive an award for saving a family member's life. Before leaving town, she met her congressman to accept a certificate and a medal.

Stories such as hers, of heroism and quick thinking, are always inspiring. But this one has a twist: Belle is a beagle, and she used her owner's mobile phone to call 911.

Her owner, Kevin Weaver, 34, was in the throes of a diabetic seizure, lying unconscious on his kitchen floor in Ocoee, Florida, when Belle located his phone and chomped down on the keypad, triggering a call.

Emergency dispatchers could hear only barking, but that was enough cause to send help, they reasoned. Mr Weaver, a former flight attendant, woke up hours later in the hospital, weak and disoriented. Belle was by his side, having finagled a ride in the ambulance.

On Monday, Belle will be the first animal to receive the VITA Wireless Samaritan Award, presented each year by the CTIA Wireless Foundation, which honours those who use their mobile phones to save lives, stop crime or help in other emergencies.

The foundation's executive director, David Diggs, said that although mobile phones could be irritating, "the safety benefits that this technology has brought are immeasurable."

Doctors told Mr Weaver that had Belle not intervened before his flatmates arrived home, five hours later, he probably would not have survived the seizure.

"I would have slipped into a coma and died," Mr Weaver said.

While on a flight, a passenger suggested to Mr Weaver, a life-long sufferer of diabetes, that Belle be trained as a medical assistance dog.

During her training Belle was taught to lick Mr Weaver's nostrils to smell his breath, reading his ketone level. If something is not right, Belle knows to start scratching Mr Weaver's leg, warning him to adjust his sugar levels before a seizure comes on.

For a worst-case scenario, Belle was taught to bite down on Weaver's phone - specifically on the 9 key, which had been programmed to dial 911.

The training was expensive, about $US9000 ($12,200) for nine months of intensive schooling, but it was worth every cent on the morning of February 7.

The above article is from The Washington Post.




 

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