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Dog saves Grovetown owner's life

Posted: May 29, 2012 - 11:07pm  |  Updated: May 30, 2012 - 7:13am
Lelia Boatright, of Grovetown, who is an insulin-dependent diabetic, was saved by her dog, Buster, when he found her unconscious and barked and howled until help arrived.   Photo by Jim Blaylock
Photo by Jim Blaylock
Lelia Boatright, of Grovetown, who is an insulin-dependent diabetic, was saved by her dog, Buster, when he found her unconscious and barked and howled until help arrived.

Twitter @ValerieRowell

Buster is proof that some animals have a sixth sense.

In the early hours of May 11, the 12-year-old Dachshund sounded the alarm.

“He started howling, that’s what woke me up,” said Les Boatright, of Grovetown. “The dog let us know that something was wrong.”

At about 3 a.m., Buster alerted Boatright that his wife, Lelia, was having a medical crisis. Lelia Boatright, who has been an insulin-dependent diabetic for more than 35 years, was in insulin shock.

Her blood sugar dropped so low that she lost consciousness and nearly died.

“The dog started causing a ruckus,” said Les Boatright, who sleeps in another room because of a ruptured disc in his back. “I went in there to check on what was wrong with the dog. That’s when I found her like that. I thought she was dead.”

He said the mattress was soaked in sweat, and his wife’s eyes had rolled back in her head. She had only a weak pulse and shallow breathing.

Not new to such emergencies, Les Boatright couldn’t get his wife to respond or drink any orange juice to raise her blood sugar.

“It’s not the first time it’s ever happened to us,” he said. “It’s the first time I ever couldn’t fix it up.”

Lelia Boatright said she has a glucose monitoring system implanted under her skin that works with an insulin pump.

When her glucose monitor detects that her blood sugar is high or low, it sends a message to the pump, which signals Lelia Boatright. She then has to hit a button to dispense the medication that keeps her blood sugar from skyrocketing.

The last thing she remembers is having dinner and checking her blood sugar – and everything was fine.

She took what she believed was her typical insulin dose and went to bed.

“I just, somehow, hit the wrong button and gave myself 10 units (of insulin) instead of the one or two that I usually take to get (my blood sugar) down,” Lelia Boatright said. “It was the maximum amount my pump is set for.”

She said she woke up in the ambulance, dazed and confused, but was eventually able to answer the medical personnel’s questions. She never realized what went wrong until she was in the hospital and checked the history on her insulin pump.

If Buster hadn’t alerted Les Boatright, his wife likely would have died by morning.

“(I am) kind of surprised that he would do that,” Lelia Boatright said. “I just thought it was kind of strange the way he raised such a ruckus.”

The Boatrights actually gave Buster to their son, Joseph, on his 8th birthday. The now-20-year-old is finishing his first year away at college, so Buster has taken to sleeping with Lelia Boatright.

“God has a plan for everything,” she said. “And it just wasn’t my time yet.”

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