Diabetic man's ‘life saved’ by untrained Sheffield pet dog as he slipped towards coma

Retired Sheffield health worker John Bethell always thought his dog, Wander, was special.

By David Kessen
Wednesday, 16th March 2022, 1:04 pm

But now he is sure she is – after she saved his life by jumping on him and licking his face until he woke up before he slipped into a diabetic coma.

Diabetic John, from Wincobank, was asleep in bed in the early hours of Saturday – and completely unaware that his blood sugar levels had dropped to a dangerous level.

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Lifesaving dog, Wander who saved owner John Bethell from a diabetic coma

And that is when Wander stepped in.

John slowly came to, to find his beloved seven year old pet Lhasa Apso jumping up and down on top of him and licking his face.

The retired mental health support worker was covered in sweat, and realised he had a problem with his sugar level.

He reached for a bottle of drink and biscuits that he keeps for emergencies, to get his sugar levels back up.

Lifesaving dog, Wander who saved owner John Bethell from a diabetic coma

Wander, my Lhasa Apso saved my life

John, aged 67, said: “I think she has saved my life.

“I had gone into a deep sleep and didn’t realise anything was wrong. When I came too, I was so weak. I realised that something was up, and something had caused my blood sugars to drop.

“It took about 15 minutes for me to come round from what had happened – the sugar levels must have been really low.

“I really do think she has saved my life and stopped me going into a diabetic coma. She must have sensed something – she is the best dog in the world.”

He has treated Wander to a sirloin steak as a reward.

Diabetic coma

John’s daughter, Lyndon Bethell, said: “Dad could have died. I know he loves Wander, but we never thought she'd do something like this.

“I think Wander picked up on something that no one else could sense. You hear about dogs being trained to do this sort of thing – but Wander isn’t trained. We can hardly even train her to sit, but she can save dad’s life like that. She loves him and must have sensed danger and done everything she could.”

Specialist organisations, such as the UK charity Medical Detection Dogs, train dogs to recognise signs of low blood sugar and take action to prevent a medical emergency.