It’s been said that everyone has a guardian angel and, for a young girl named Michelle Krawczyk, KK for short, hers is a tiny little fuzzball of a dog who is coincidentally named JJ. You see, when KK was just a baby, she was diagnosed with mastocytosis. That’s a very rare disease that could send KK into anaphylactic shock because her body is making too many mast cells. She and her mother were told by the doctors that KK could never go to school because it would be too dangerous with her condition. She could go from asymptomatic to anaphylactic in a matter of just minutes. Simple things like fatigue, heat, or cold could trigger a life-threatening episode for little KK.
So, where does KK’s guardian angel, JJ, fit into all of this? Well, JJ is an adorable little shelter puppy who was recruited by a very special non-profit assistance dog organization. This amazing organization is called Eyes Ears Nose and Paws (EENP) and they have a program that trains diabetic assistance dogs. JJ went through the training and met KK when she was only a one-year-old puppy. It was love-at-first-sight for KK when she saw JJ, and they’ve been BFFs ever since.
The journey to getting JJ as an assistance dog for KK started when KK’s mother, Michelle, started searching online for assistance dogs. Her thought was just that one of these specially trained dogs could help KK by alerting an adult when she had an attack, so they could get help to her right away. Little did she know that JJ could do much more than that. In fact, she could make it possible for KK to go to school, which she wanted very much.
JJ can actually alert KK and anyone nearby when a mastocytosis reaction is imminent. She even knows it before anyone else and even before anyone else or any kind of equipment could diagnose it. This could provide the opportunity for halting any activity that she might be involved in, rehydrating, and/or resting. In extremely serious cases, medication could be provided for KK. This particular task being performed by an assistance dog had never been done before in cases of mastocytosis, but thanks to the EENP director, Deb Cunningham, this usage was explored and implemented, according to Michelle.
Since then, JJ and KK have made headlines worldwide since KK had to have kidney surgery in 2013. The doctors at Children’s Health Center at Duke University Medical Center made a decision to have JJ in the operating room since no equipment could predict a reaction that KK might have the way that JJ could. The surgery was successful and KK made a full recovery with JJ by her side.
And, that means that now JJ and KK are enjoying a new milestone together three years later. KK’s mother, Michelle, doesn’t have to be in the classroom with KK anymore thanks to KK’s partnership with JJ. KK is now free to go to class by herself since JJ is always there to watch over her