Bronco's Adventures

The Day Bronco Sniffed Out an Oncoming Insulin Shock

On the right our Labrador Baylor. On the left our Leonberger Bronco under a sun ray. Bronco may have saved Baylor when he sniffed our an oncoming insulin shock.
Bronco’s nose predicted an oncoming insulin shock

When Bronco was young we had a Labrador named Baylor. Baylor developed diabetes and I had to give him insulin shots before every meal. But he was very cooperative, and he never complained despite the pinch he must have felt every time.

One day we witnessed what seemed like a miracle. Bronco started barking while looking at Baylor, then he intently looked at us, then he turned his head toward Baylor and started barking again. He did this a few times—not aggressively, but to get our attention. It became clear that. Bronco wanted us to look at Baylor. I examined Baylor but saw nothing wrong at first. Then I looked again. This time I saw that his back legs were shaking slightly. It quickly got worse. His gait became wobbly, then within perhaps fifteen seconds he fainted. He had gone into insulin shock. We rushed him to the emergency clinic, where fortunately the doctors were able to revive him. I should mention; we didn’t know this at the time, but giving a dog sugar, or something sweet, can bring him out of insulin shock.

Bronco detected a problem with Baylor before we could see anything wrong. His warnings gave us that little bit of extra time we needed to save Baylor’s life. I still wonder what it was that Bronco noticed. Leonbergers have a very keen sense of smell, and people have told me that the dogs can smell when there’s something physically wrong with a person. We had never taught Bronco to detect insulin shock or any other condition. It was entirely his own instinct. This was one of the amazing superpowers Bronco had.