Diabetic judge relies on service dog to help monitor blood-sugar levels

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Judge Howard Sturim, who sits in New York’s Nassau County Court, has a service dog who accompanies him to court to assist the jurist manage his Type 2 diabetes.

Sturim’s dog, Barney, is trained to smell subtle body-odor changes in people with diabetes, and alerts the judge when it’s time to check his blood-sugar levels, Newsday reports. Sturim got Barney about a year ago from Diabetic Alert Dogs of America, according to Newsday, and the Irish setter-poodle crossbreed had 10 months of scent training.

Since then, Barney, who sleeps under the bench during court, has sat through 20 jury trials, and only been noticed once, when he sneezed in front of a jury, said Sturim, who was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes more than 20 years ago.

According to Newsday, Barney paws at Sturim if he thinks something is wrong, and he’s alerted the judge before any symptoms were present.

“Before him, I would just take oral medication and insulin. Because I have him, I can be more aggressive,” the judge told the newspaper. “My numbers have never been better.”

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