Meet Molly the Australian silky terrier hero dog. Molly has been trained to monitor her owners, Olivia (at left) and Hannah, eight-year-old twins who have type 1 diabetes.
The twins live with their parents Martin and Adrienne in the ACT and Molly is an essential part of the family because she is able to determine whether the twins’ blood glucose levels are too low or too high
‘We trained Molly because Hannah is hypo unaware,’ says Adrienne. ‘She was diagnosed at 26 months and was having seriously low hypos and was not able to tell us. The overnight ones were the scariest.’
Every night Molly does the rounds to make sure the twins are safely asleep.
One night, she detected ketones in Hannah’s saliva and kept pestering Adrienne, until Adrienne woke. As a result, Adrienne was able to call an ambulance in time to save Hannah’s life.
‘We love Molly because she is a dual-purpose dog,’ Adrienne says. ‘As well as alerting us to hypos and ketones, she calms the girls when they are feeling anxious. We are very fortunate because Molly is such a happy little dog who thinks the world is an amazing place.’
Now hero Molly is getting the acknowledgement she so richly deserves – she’s had her story featured in the eBook, Dogs of Australia – The Untold Stories of Our Canine Heroes.
The book is dedicated to Australia’s many amazing pets.
For Molly’s story in her ‘words’ go to page 6 of the eBook.
Adrienne and Martin bought Molly as a pup and trained her in basic obedience. They waited until Molly was 18 months old before they started diabetic alert and public access training.
The family purchased online clips from the Diabetic Alert Dog University in America and followed the instructions in order to train Molly.
‘We did behavioural reward training so Molly thought the training was fun and wanted to continue to do it,’ Adrienne explains.
The family also had to train Molly in the requirements necessary for the twins to be able take the dog into public areas.
Adrienne followed the guidelines from mindDog, an Australian not-for-profit organisation that trains and accredits psychiatric assistance dogs.
‘Molly was an incredibly quick learner. The training for diabetic alerting is 10 weeks but Molly started alerting by week 6 and while it usually takes a year to pass the Public Access Test (PAT), Molly was trained in 5 months.’
Molly requires continuous training and has to sit the PAT each year. ‘It’s a lot of work but it’s definitely worth it,’ Adrienne says.