Ocoee beagle wins live-saving award
Belle, an Ocoee beagle that dialed 9-1-1 when her owner suffered a life-threatening diabetic seizure, is the first animal to receive the VITA (latin for life) Wireless Samaritan Award. Belle and owner Kevin Weaver (left with Belle) will be honored at a dinner in Washington on June 19. Belle was 2 years old when Weaver got her for companionship. But later he paid $8,000 to have Belle trained to alert owners of oncoming seizures and to respond. By simply licking and sniffing the tip of Weaver's nose several times a day, Belle can detect through taste and smell his blood sugar levels. When his levels drop below normal, Belle warns Weaver by whining and pawing at him. The investment paid off Feb. 7 when Weaver awoke feeling ill. Belle whined and pawed at him but within minutes he slipped into a diabetic seizure. Quick-thinking Belle retrieved Weaver's wireless phone and with her teeth pressed the 9 key - which was preprogrammed to dial 9-1-1. Paramedics arrived within minutes. "I am convinced that if Belle wasn't with me that morning, I wouldn't be alive today," Weaver said. "Belle is more than just a life-saver, she's my best friend." The VITA is presented by the Cellular Telecommunications & Internet Association and Wireless Foundation.