A pit bull rescued from a shelter last week returned the favor to his adoptive family by detecting a change in the blood sugar of his owner's son and prompting a trip to the hospital.
Christi Smith adopted TaterTot just hours before he was scheduled to be put down. She said she only planned on keeping until she could find him a more permanent home, but now she claims the dog has become an official member of the family.
While watching Smith's 4-year-old son Peyton Anderson sleep one night, the dog noticed that something was wrong and began jumping and licking on the boy after he wouldn't wake up.
"He kept on whining and barking and running between the two of us," Smith told FOX 9 News. "I checked on him, and he was barely breathing."
After rushing Peyton to the emergency room, doctors discovered the boy's blood sugar was incredibly low.
"If his blood sugar was that low, he may have been producing ketones," said Isis Sanchez, of Blue Pearl Veterinary Clinic. "That may have been what the dog picked up on."
Sanchez explained that dogs' acute sense of smell helps them detect when changes occur in the body.
She added that canines are known for having a sort of "sixth sense" that allows them to detect changes in electrical activity, which is why some dogs can predict epileptic episodes before they happen.
Doctors said that Peyton tested negative for diabetes and are not yet sure was caused the sudden drop in his blood sugar levels. Either way, Smith is convinced that TaterTot saved her son's life.
"I could have been one of those moms sitting there telling people how I lost my son," she said.