Less than a week after rescuing a pit bull that would have been put down, a Minnesota mother says the dog returned the favor by detecting a dangerous drop in her son's blood sugar, rescuing the young boy from a life-threatening situation.
Christi Smith took in TatertTot just hours before he was scheduled to be euthanized by Minneapolis Animal Care and Control. She planned to foster the four-legged friend until she could find him a permanent home, but she says he's already become family for good.
When watching Peyton Anderson play with his dog, it's clear the two have a special bond -- but Smith didn't know how special that bond was until last week when the pooch alerted her that the 4-year-old was not well in the middle of the night.
"He just seemed kind of weird," Smith recalled. "He wasn't really coherent -- deliriously tired."
Although the 10-month-old pit bull rescue had only been in her home for a few days, TaterTot quickly sensed something was wrong and began licking and jumping on the boy when he wouldn't wake up.
"He kept on whining and barking and running between the two of us," she told FOX 9 News. "I checked on him, and he was barely breathing."
After rushing her son to the emergency room, doctors ran a battery of tests to discover the boy's blood sugar was dangerously low.
"If his blood sugar was that low, he may have been producing ketones," explained Isis Sanchez, of Blue Pearl Veterinary Clinic. "That may have been what the dog picked up on."
Sanchez said TatorTot's keen sense of smell likely helped him realize the change in Peyton's body.
"What, for us, is barely a whiff of something gives them a huge picture of what's going on," she said.
Aside from smell, Sanchez said dogs may also have a sort of "sixth sense" that can detect changes in electrical activity, which is how some dogs may be able to warn people with epilepsy that a seizure may be looming.
"Doggie heroes come in all sizes," she said.
Anderson tested negative for diabetes and doctors are still unsure what happened that night. Even so, Smith remains convinced that the canine she saved is responsible for saving her son's life.
"I could have been one of those moms sitting there telling people how I lost my son," she said.