Lifesaving Service Dog Sniffs Out Girl’s Disease, Even in Operating Room

by Sue on June 24, 2015

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Since she was two months old, Kaelyn “KK” Krawczyk has had a severe form of mastocytosis, which can cause a life-threatening allergic reaction to simple, everyday things – heat, exercise, even exposure to medicines.

Mastocytosis is a rare disease that causes an abnormal accumulation of mast cells in one or more organ systems. When mast cells are activated, they can induce immediate allergic inflammation. The disease is exceedingly rare and has a broad range of symptoms and severity, according to the Mastocytosis Society.

But for KK, a 7-year-old from Apex, N.C., these allergic reactions can be fatal and can escalate quickly to anaphylaxis or fatal shock.

“She gets too hot, she gets stressed, she has an infection,” said her mother, Michelle Krawzyck, 39. “Her reactions range from mild, like being flushed or irritable, to life-threatening drop in blood pressure, vomiting and difficulty breathing.”

Penn Vet dogs learn to sniff out cancer.

Doctors had warned the family that KK might not even be able to go to school.

“They said it wasn’t safe,” said Krawzyck, who has four other children, ages 4 to 16. “She could go into anaphylaxis quickly and we would not know the trigger. We were devastated.”

KK needs to be monitored all night long so her parents worry that anything, even hot blankets, might lead to a reaction that causes a fall down the stairs, unconsciousness or worse.

But for the last 18 months, they have a much better medical watchdog: a terrier named JJ who can smell the cell changes before she has a serious reaction and warn her parents that she needs her medical kit.

KK has recurring kidney infections and trips to the hospital. Doctors have discovered that the dye used in surgical procedures and the chemicals in anesthesia can trigger dangerous allergic responses.

“One of the things we know is that she is at high risk for anesthesia,” said her mother. “She had a really bad reaction coming out of it in the past. She was really flushed and her blood pressure was low and she had shortness of breath.”

So just this week, doctors allowed JJ and her trainer to accompany KK into the operating room at Duke University Medical Center, where she was to have exploratory kidney surgery. The dog was there to alert the anesthesiologist in advance of a reaction so they could ward it off with medication before it becomes life-threatening.

“It was kind of logical, actually,” her anesthesiologist, Dr. Brad Taicher told the News-Observer, which first reported the story.

“Knowing what JJ could do, we realized that JJ was not much different from other monitors we use.”

And JJ does her job well. The terrier picks up the scent of KK’s cell changes, then barks and tugs at her parents’ clothes.

“The other cool thing she does is she knows how to retrieve her kit with the life-saving meds.”

Just one month into training in January, JJ responded during one of KK’s worst reactions.

“She started licking our daughter to get her up,” said Krawczyk. “All the cardiac monitors were in the normal range. KK said, ‘Mommy, I feel like there’s a ball in my throat.’ She was having swelling, and time is of the essence. Four minutes after JJ alerted us, the monitors started to change.”

“She alerts the hospital staff before all their fancy equipment can,” said Krawczyk. “It makes believers out of those who didn’t believe and confirmed those who did. JJ was a better indicator of when things are starting to go wrong than all the monitors.”

JJ was trained in scent detection by Deb Cunningham, program director at Eyes Ears Nose and Paws in Chapel Hill, a nonprofit service dog agency.

“One day I was working with a local animal shelter and looking at golden retrievers,” she said. “The kennel manager pulled me back and said, ‘Hey, I think there is a little dog you should meet.’ I had never trained a terrier before and we usually don’t work with shelter dogs. I did a temperament test with her. Turned out she was great.”

JJ grew up in Cunningham’s home and underwent nine months of intense training to be a diabetic alert dog.

Meanwhile, the Krawczyks were looking for a service dog that could alert them when KK was having a reaction and called Cunningham, who had trained dogs in scent work. Cunningham asked if mastocytosis emitted a scent, hoping she might train the little terrier to pick up on the reaction before it became full-blown.

Krawzcyk was asked to swab KK’s mouth and save articles of clothing that the girl wore during a reaction so that JJ could be trained to detect her saliva and sweat.

“I couldn’t be more proud of JJ,” said Cunningham. “She has way surpassed my expectations for what an alert dog can do…. She even alerted someone else in their life who didn’t know she had diabetes and went to the doctor as a result.”

Now, KK is allowed to go to school with JJ by her side. Her mother, who is an online nursing professor, goes along with her daughter and quietly sits in the classroom doing her work.

“Because JJ is so sensitive I can let KK do all the things she would normally do until JJ alerts me it’s time to stop.”

For KK, having an alert dog like JJ will be part of the rest of her life.

“We hope she will get better, but we don’t expect her disease to go away,” said Krawzcyk. “It’s a lifelong process for her and that’s O.K. Medical science can’t provide us with a monitor. JJ is her lifeline and she knows that.”

“She [JJ] singlehandedly has done more than any medical person has done,” she said. “JJ has given KK a new lease on life and the ability to lead a normal life.”


Future service dogs get their training by women inmates at Coffee Creek lockup

by Sue on June 22, 2015

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CCI dogs know as many as 50 commands and can open doors, alert their owners to dangers, turn lights on and off and provide calming emotional support . ..

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Future service dogs get their training by women inmates at Coffee Creek lockup –


One of many cute stories about my Service Dog “Gunny” known on the internet as “Gunny the Wonder Weiner”

by Sue on June 16, 2015

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How many smart dogs have you met? If you answered with a number, then you’re not looking hard enough. If you answered “All”, then you truly know dogs. All dogs are intelligent. Some show it more than others. If allowed to, dogs will demonstrate  intelligence that will leave us absolutely gobsmacked. However it is the opportunities that we allow a dog to experience that equals how far they will broaden their mind. Despite what some might say, the dog is the first domesticated animal. Being that as it is, it only stands to reason that they will show many human like qualities when treated as a family member, rather than treated as “just a dog”.

Train your dog kindness and understanding. Set boundaries. Be consistent. This lets the dog know where they stand with you. No surprises. No worries. Order. Dogs like that. Then let them be themselves so that they may broaden their horizons. Don’t try to control their mind. Just direct it to the good. There is a vast world out there. They should be a part of it. This is the way I train my dogs.

Well…with the exception of Gunny. He has needed very little training. What he does just comes naturally for him. And mind boggling for those who have been able to spend some time with he and I. I am sure that many of you have heard or read of  the stories of Gunny the Wonder Weiner. His intelligence as astounded people. So much so that I have been asked to write some short stories about his “wonder weiner” feats to share with the readers.

The things that he has done over the years! Some time ago I reached a point where nothing he does surprises me. As a matter of fact, it has become so much a part of daily life that when he does not do something unique, I feel something is missing. Picking just one of these stories to start off with was very difficult to say the least. However, there is one that sticks in my mind the most. The last time Gunny’s actions just left me totally slack jawed with astonishment.

It was in May of 2007 and we just finished an Earthdog trial held on the beautiful Whidbey Island Washington. It had been raining the entire four days of my stay and I still had to break camp and drive the 7 hours back home. Because my rain coat had been caught in the brush and ripped beyond use the day before, I applied several layers of shirts and commenced to packing up in the wetness.

Castle Rock Washington is a regular stop for us after leaving Whidbey Island. There is a rather large field off the beaten path and I make it a habit of letting the dogs have a good run. It tires them out for the continued 5 hour trip home. This trip was no exception.

As Cazzie, Jäger and Gunny ran, the sun broke through, which soon made me aware I still had several layers of shirts on. I took my cap off, sat it on the canopy of the truck and, as I watched the dogs chase each other around the field, peeled down to what I wanted to leave on.

After some time, I called all three back, gave them a good drink of water and then we loaded up in the cab of the S-10 and continued our journey homeward.

Merging back on to I-5, I had this strange feeling that I was being watched.I looked out of the corner of my right eye and Gunny was staring at me. Ears alert, eyes intense, as though he were trying to send a message me.“What’s wrong Bud?” I asked him while watching the traffic ahead of me.Another mile down the road. I glanced again. He was still staring at me intently. “Gunny” I said, with a little more concern in my voice, “What is wrong? What do you want?” Another mile down the road and I still couldn’t shake that feeling of being watched. I glanced out of the corner of my eye, and he had not moved a muscle. I threw up one of my hands in exasperation and said “Gunny, I know you don’t need to pee and you’re not thirsty. I have no idea what you want, so either tell me or quit staring at me”. With that statement, he jumped up on the back of the bench seat in the truck, walked across the top, stuck his nose in my hair and nuzzled around in it. I let out a gasp and placed my hand on my head, realizing I had forgotten to put my cap back on.

Gunny hopped back down to the seat, laid back down and continued his vigil staring.   “Gunny, I’m not going back to get it. It’s probably in the middle of the highway or something”

Continued stare.

“Gunny. It’s not worth it. I just have another one made. Now quit staring”

Still continuing to stare as I view the Longview/Kelso exit ramp coming up.

“OK! FINE! We will go back! Gees! The things I do for you!” I took the overpass and headed the almost 7 miles north back to Castle Rock. Only to find, much to my surprise, the cap was laying directly in the middle of the road, untouched by passing traffic, where I had exited the field.

I put the cap on, climbed back in the cab, turned to Gunny and said “There. Is that better? Are you happy now?” Gunny wagged his tail, gave me a kiss, laid down in the seat, gave me a thumbs up look, then curled up and went to sleep.

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Service dogs featured in Blaine yearbooks

by Sue on June 9, 2015

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I think this is just wonderful and should be done more across the USA. This may stop allot of the anti-service dog problems that students are facing in school right now with school officials that think they are above the law.



Earth Day Sale. Today through Friday. 20% off our best selling slicker brush.

by Sue on April 21, 2015

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You are going to love this slicker brush. Our barkOutfitters Slicker brush is the EASIEST slicker brush to clean. When you are ready to clean the brush one click and the retractable bristles literally make the hair fall off the brush! No holding the button down to clean the brush as with other self cleaning brushes. Seriously…one click and the hair falls off!

This is our top selling brush. And our five year warranty cannot be beat. Brush breaks? Let us know, we will ship you a new one.

Slicker brush

Normally $19.95. Now on sale through the 24th for $15.95.



What are people saying about Liquid Glucosamine 100% EXTRA STRENGTH Vegetarian Dog Joint Supplement – 1,600mg Glucosamine + 1,500mg MSM – Formulated in the USA – GUARANTEED See Results or its FREE?

by Sue on April 8, 2015

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Really works! Highly recommended!

By Uncle Lew on April 6, 2015

After waiting over a month, my wife and I can unconditionally state this liquid supplement from Barker Labs works great. Our 12-year old Border Collie, Alex, began suffering joint pain in his front leg shoulder area (do dogs have shoulders?) It reached a point where he no longer could jump on the bed to play. He walked more slowly and found it difficult to physically get up after laying down. His limp, more prevalent during the evening, made it obvious there was pain.

As a lifelong dog owner, I know that glucosamine is effective for a dog’s joint pain. The brand I used with our previous dogs was no longer available, so I was faced with choosing from a plethora of supplements, all promising their brand was the best. Out of convenience, I first tried a shellfish-based chewable glucosamine supplement but soon learned Alex’s sensitive intestinal track quickly developed diarrhea and gas. However, he wasn’t limping anymore! Nevertheless, Alex is crate-trained and having an accident while sleeping in his crate can be quite a mess. We needed to find a supplement that wasn’t made with shellfish, which many dogs – not just mine – find difficult to digest.

After much internet research, I came upon FlexComplete. The fact that it doesn’t contain shellfish or beef was what sold me. (Alex primarily eats lamb and rice, again, due to his sensitive stomach.) While it’s a bit less convenient to administer than tossing him a solid chewy supplement as if it’s a treat, it’s been really easy to apply FlexComplete directly on his bowl of food. He’s 42 pounds, and receives one and a half teaspoons every morning.

I’d like to add a cautionary note to those of you planning to give your dog a glucosamine supplement. There seems to be a fair amount of similar recommendations regarding these supplements to use a “loading” period where you give the dog a larger amount for the first two or three weeks. This may work for some dogs, but as my veterinary doc explained, it’s better to go slow and gentle. I started Alex on one teaspoon, never varying, until after three weeks, upped the dose to one and one half teaspoons. Alex is pain free now and acts younger than ever. I highly recommend FlexComplete and in case you’re wondering, did not receive a complementary bottle so that I’d say nice things about the product. It just works. We’ll buy it again.

Note from Sussie and Gunny: I use it on my dogs as well with AMAZING results!


What are people saying about Service Dog Vest Harness – Light Weight But Durable?

by Sue on March 24, 2015

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If you want QUALITY order this one.

By T. Clarkon

Quality does not get any better than this. Very sturdy/durable (NOT a cheaply made harness) and well made. Inside is soft and fits perfectly as the measurements describe. I looked at many others before I decided on this one @ 29.99. The others were much more expensive and I don’t think I could like the product more than I like this one. I am really pleased I chose this one. I also like to support small US based businesses and this is a small family owned business right here in the USA. Excellent service along with an Excellent product. For those saying this vest runs small. I measured my dog BEFORE I ordered. I got out the sewing tape measure. I don’t feel it runs small as it measures exactly what it says in the picture. So please remember to measure your furrball before ordering.

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What are people saying about barkOutfitters Service Dog Vest Harness + 50 FREE ADA Info Cards Kit

by Sue on March 17, 2015

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Great Product, Great Seller

By Kona’s Mom on February 28, 2015

Color Name: RedSize Name: 21″ – 25″ Girth Verified Purchase
I am so impressed with the high quality and durability of this harness. The sizing chart is accurate and fit my dog perfectly. I used this harness on a transcontinental flight. The adjustable harness is very comfortable on my dog. Designed with your dog’s comfort in mind with strong velcro adjustable straps and wide clip attachment. Very satisfied with this excellent product! Quick shipping – I received this item within 2 days of my order! Great transaction & quick response to my question from an American, family run, small business!!! A+


What are people saying about barkOutfitters Dog Treat Pouch?

by Sue on March 5, 2015

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Great quality!

March 2, 2015

This review is from: Dog Treat Pouch – Bag Can Carry Snacks and Toys – Professional Quality Pouch Ava – by barkOutfitters

I have had very many bait bags. This bag is particularly robust. The drawstring and the belt clip have all lasted. The belt clip is also made in such a manner that it is less likely to fall off than others.
For my purposes, this bag is slightly on the large side, but that is only because I am not looking to have more than .5 cups – 1.5 cups in it at a time.
I do not use this for holding a tennis ball.
The front mesh pocket is tight enough that my roll of poop bags does not fall out.


What people are saying about Barker Labs Unscented Salmon Oil?

by Sue on February 25, 2015

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I was giving my dogs another product provided by the Vet.

December 10, 2014

By Marsha Horwath

This review is from: Salmon Fish Oil for Dogs & Cats – Natural & Unscented Omega 3 Gives Your Pet the Coat That Will Make Other Pet Owners Envious
I was giving my dogs another product provided by the vet. The smell was awful and towards the end of the jar my one dog refused to eat it anymore. Even I was dreading opening the jar. This is what it says “no smell” at all. The fussy dog loves it. I give a couple of pumps on the dry food and he consumes it in no time flat! My other dog has itching of the skin. Since using this product decreased activity. Greatly appreciated.

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