They are more than our best friend, they are working companions.
Dogs helps us in all fashions from working on farms, to guarding our homes and property and can even be our eyes when our eyesight is gone.
And to a nine-year-old Colorado girl, her newest friend and companion may even some day save her life.
Nine-year-old Ashley Wydra wasn't shopping when we caught up to her at the Target store near 125th and West Center Rd.
She was learning about her new friend.
Ashley was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when she was five years old
Ashley's blood sugar levels need regular monitoring resulting in a lot of sleepless nights.
“There are cases where a diabetic will go low during the night and if they go too low sometimes they don't ever wake up,” Ashley's mom Shannon said.
So Ashley is learning about the latest method of dealing with her diabetes.
She's getting a dog. but she can't even pet him...yet.
Joe Cook trained Jackson, a one-year-old Border Collie, as a service dog.
Cook showed Ashley how to handle Jackson by walking around the store.
Cook and his wife Jamie own HeadsUpHounds, pairing patients with dog possession life saving talents.
As it turned out, Jackson gets a new start as well.
“Jackson was found on the streets of Council Bluffs,” Jamie Cook said. “He was covered with fleas and ticks, had been out on the street for a little while and he cleaned up beautifully and he's got a brilliant nose which is so important in this kind of work.”
Jackson's nose will alert Ashley if her blood sugar changes by detecting the changes in her breath.
After a few hours, the big moment as Ashley takes over handling of Jackson.
Now, Jackson belongs exclusively to Ashley. No one else can pet him or hug him. She's entirely responsible for caring for Jackson.
Ashley's parents know this love and care is a two way street.
“That dog is going to potentially save our daughter's life,” Shannon said.
The Wydra's found out about HeadsUpHounds through an ad on Facebook.
The family will stay in Omaha for a few more days and Joe Cook will help Ashley work with Jackson.
The training time for Jackson to be turned over to Ashley was about three months.
Jackson is the fifth service dog HeadsUpHounds has trained and placed.