A Hockey Player’s Best Friend Watches Tier II 18U Nationals

So how does Oshie the dog help Jensen? It’s easier when the two are closer because Oshie can get close to Jensen and give him the paw when he gets close to low (blood sugar 70 and below) or high (150 and above).

But Oshie is also very good in crowds, including hockey rinks full of other people and all the smells associated with the game, from popcorn to hockey equipment. Yes, with Oshie sitting with Jensen’s parents, Chris and Diaun, on the other side of the rink, he can drill through the different aromas to find out if Jensen is in danger.

“He knows when we’re at a hockey rink for sure,” Diaun Jensen said. “And even if he doesn’t necessarily see Isaac because of course [Isaac] gets dropped off early all the time and we go later, but he knows he’s there for sure. He alerts while Isaac is on the ice while we are somewhere in the stands. When he started doing that, we were like, ‘There’s no way you can smell it.’ But then we talked to some trainers, they assured us he could absolutely smell it and he was probably right and he could smell it and his blood sugar was bad.

Oshie was trained to know Jensen’s scents at high and low levels by rubbing his mouth with cotton balls. Pawing at Jensen or whoever is closest is just an alert given by Oshie. Others pace nervously, whine or even bark.

Diaun Jensen vividly remembers a time when Oshie came to the rescue while her son was sleeping.

“I could just feel [Oshie’s] presence near me and I woke up and he was watching and had probably been prancing around in bed,” she said. “I woke up and went to test Isaac and his blood sugar was definitely high and the reason it was high is that Isaac forgot to reconnect his [insulin] pump after a shower and before bed. So it could definitely have resulted in a very bad situation in the morning over the hours. It was probably one of the most critical times, but honestly, Isaac being a teenager, his blood sugar goes low multiple times a day and Oshie grabs it.

From the time the Jensens had Oshie, the dog accompanied Isaac to school, which also helped explain his condition to his classmates. As his studies intensified, Jensen made the difficult decision midway through last school year, in second grade, that he needed to focus more and stopped taking Oshie to class. Jensen said he wanted to bring Oshie back to school in his senior year.

Oshie isn’t the only method Jensen relies on to keep his blood sugar on track. It also has a monitor. But like any good boy, Oshie is often ahead of technology, warning his best friend that he’s in the danger zone 15 minutes before the monitor.

“Oshie is super important,” Jensen said. “He helps me a lot, but I don’t have to do so much myself.”

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Catherine J. Martinez