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November 13, 2009

'Our little hero dog'

Owner: Persistent dog saves her

OTTUMWA — The owner rescued the dog. Soon after, the dog reciprocated.

“We got her last October,” said Judy Lee, 56, of Ottumwa. “The Heartland Humane Society had a display at the mall. My daughter called and said, ‘Mom, you have just got to come see this dog.’”

Lee, who has health problems including heart trouble and diabetes, had just lost her buddy, an elderly cat, and her home was a little empty.

“I said I’d come look, but I wasn’t going to get a dog. I looked at [the dog], she looked at me, and she [was] home an hour later.”

The veterinarian said Zoe, a miniature dachshund, was about 2 years old at the time. Lee’s mother, Dorothy Griffin, said that little dog has done more to keep Judy happy than all her medication; the house just seemed warmer, the women acknowledged.

But the dog she rescued turned out to be more than just a morale booster. She was a true guardian. Lee’s form of diabetes is worse than average.

“They used to call it ‘brittle diabetes.’ My blood sugar tends to run very high or very low. I’m on insulin shots ... and it’s hard to eat just the right amount to be safe.”

Too much blood sugar can put a diabetic person into a diabetic coma. Too low of a blood sugar level can send a patient into insulin shock.

“You need to be right there in the middle,” Lee said, “but that’s really hard.”

Recently, right around Zoe and Judy’s one-year anniversary of becoming best buds, Judy slowly became aware of her dog jumping on her. It was 3 a.m. Judy tried to wake up all the way, but couldn’t.

“So she kept jumping on me, and rooting at me with her nose, licking me. She just wouldn’t stop,” said Lee.

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