Rescue Dog Watches Over Girl During Surgery

Photo: Shawn Rocco/Duke Medicine

Photo: Shawn Rocco/Duke Medicine

One little girl had a four-legged guardian angel watching over her as she underwent kidney surgery. 7-year-old Kaelyn Krawczyk was born with mast cell activation disorder, which causes her to have reactions ranging from mild discomfort to life-threatening symptoms when she gets too hot, too cold, or stressed. Her service dog, 2-year-old rescue dog JJ, is trained to detect and warn Kaelyn's family when she is about to have a reaction.

JJ alerts to Kaelyn's oncoming reaction by jumping on her leg, tugging on her clothing, and barking.

JJ is unique in his ability to detect this particular type of reaction, and he is also the first service dog that has been allowed in the procedure room at the Children's Health Center at Duke University Medical Center.

Although it's rare, if not unheard of, for a service dog to be present in a procedure room, Kaelyn's doctors felt that the benefits of having JJ present outweighed the low chance of an infection.

The surgery went smoothly, and Kaelyn and her family took comfort in JJ's presence there.


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