AN EXTRAORDINARY dog has saved the life of a diabetic mum - after alerting her more than 2,000 times.

Medical Detection Dog Frankie has such an incredible sense of smell he can alert Barbara Watson as soon as her blood sugar levels drop.

Even when she is fast asleep, he can sense danger.

Northwich Guardian:

Medical Detection Dog Frankie has an incredible sense of smell

"He jumps on the bed, pulls the covers down and licks my cheek to wake me up," said mum-of-three Barbara, 56, from Whitegate. "His nose is a million times more sensitive than a human."

Barbara was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes when she was 10, an inherited condition which affected her gran, sister, brother and her own daughter Danielle.

Northwich Guardian:

Danielle 'was like an angel'

"Tragically, the day before Danielle's 13th birthday she went to bed and never woke up," said Barbara. "She died from suspected diabetic complications. We were absolutely devastated. She was like an angel.She was absolutely stunning and perfectly healthy.

Northwich Guardian:

Diabetic Danielle Watson who died on her 13th birthday

"It was the end of the world for me.

"I felt like our lives had finished. My diabetes spiralled out of control and I suffered several seizures."

One day whilst shopping with her son Bobby, only four at the time, she failed to realise her blood sugar had fallen and became frightened and confused.

Staff had to help her take a glucose drink.

"My condition catches me unawares sometimes," said Barbara.

By chance she found out about dogs trained to support people with life threatening conditions and, after training, was paired with Labrador Retriever Frankie.

Northwich Guardian:

Barbara Watson describes Frankie as her 'companion and lifesaver'

"We brought him home on Danielle's birthday," said Barbara. "I feel it is her gift to me.

"He is my big beautiful lifesaver. I was afraid to sleep and could never switch off. Now I can because he is with me all the time and has given me confidence to change my life."

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Wherever she goes, Frankie is constantly protecting Barbara and makes sure he gets her attention as soon as he detects a drop in her blood sugar level.

"If we're out shopping, he will sit down and refuse to walk anymore and stare at my face," said Barbara. "If I'm sitting on the sofa, he will put his paws on my knee.

"If he alerts me he is always spot on. He picks up when my sugar levels are dropping before a meter can. When I say: 'Ok Frankie, shall I check?' he waits by the fridge because he knows he will get a treat like cheese, sausage or bacon."

Frankie is four and as long as he stays healthy he can work until he is around eight or nine.

"After that, he will stay with me and another dog comes into my house to take over from him," said Barbara.

Northwich Guardian:

Frankie has given Barbara confidence to rebuild her life

Frankie has given Barbara confidence to rebuild her life.

Barbara completed a BSc degree in counselling and now specialises in loss and bereavement.

"I'd like to think Danielle would be really proud of me," she said.

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