South Florida

The plane passenger passed out, and her seatmate saved her life with a timely lick

The hero on board a Frontier Airlines flight from Trenton to West Palm Beach is cute. Some might say at the degree of Brad Pitt in “Once Upon a Time in ... Hollywood”-cute.

Britt Grogan, the woman he saved, wouldn’t travel without him. They are so close, in fact, the little guy — his name is Ruxx — flew on her lap for the 614-mile trip.

Ruxx is a 5-pound toy poodle trained to detect changes in a diabetic’s blood sugar.

On Aug. 7, Ruxx knew something was amiss.

“I had a major diabetic episode and Ruxx saved the day once again,” Grogan posted on Facebook. “I had fallen asleep and he was aggressively trying to wake me up! When I finally came to, my sugar was 22!!! For anyone that doesn’t know, that’s coma level, black out level, shock level! In fact, I was in shock!”

The last thing Grogan remembered after Ruxx started to lick her face and dig into her lap with vigor.

Then she didn’t remember too much until “a very patient, kind, young man (cute too)“ named Eric, who happened to be a nurse on the same flight, started walking her through the process of getting her sugars up to a safe level. He had heard the flight crew’s announcement regarding a medical emergency on the plane.

Grogan says she credits Ruxx, her fellow passenger, Eric, and Frontier’s Michelle, the head flight attendant, for saving her life.

Ruxx was trained by Shay Maimoni at WooF Dogs, a team of dog trainers and behavioral consultants, in Loxahatchee, Grogan said in her post.

Dogs are trained to detect explosives and drugs by smell. Ruxx was trained in the same way, except his nose can smell the change in his human’s sugar and knows how to react.

“The dog literally saved her life by just telling her, ‘Your blood sugar is low and you need to wake up and take care of yourself,’ ” Maimoni told WPTV.

Grogan has a rare form of the incurable, but manageable, disease. Diabetes occurs when a person’s blood glucose is too high and the body can’t properly regulate it, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.

Living with diabetes is a challenge, Grogan posted in a conversation with another diabetic on her Facebook post.

“Time does help [you] get more familiar with how your diabetes works in your body,” she said. “It’s no fun not trusting you body anymore, but knowing that helps you try to prepare for anything. ... Having Ruxx has eased my worries so much and having my family around!”

Miami Herald Real Time/Breaking News reporter Howard Cohen, a 2017 Media Excellence Awards winner, has covered pop music, theater, health and fitness, obituaries, municipal government and general assignment. He started his career in the Features department at the Miami Herald in 1991.
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