Girl With Diabetes Given New Service Dog After Her Beloved Sidek - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Girl With Diabetes Given New Service Dog After Her Beloved Sidekick Was Shot to Death

Posted: Updated:

A Texas girl with diabetes lost her best four-legged friend and protector when someone shot to death Journey, her sweet golden retriever, in the yard of her home.

Bereft, 15-year-old Hannah Westmoreland couldn't understand why someone would do such a thing. And she didn't think she'd ever have another service dog that could fill Journey's paws.

But thanks to the kindness of a generous stranger, Hannah now has a 3-month-old Labradoodle named Joey, a goofy, rambunctious and devoted bundle of black fur. And Hannah has fallen in love all over again.

"She is a momma hen," Hannah's mother, Tina, told InsideEdition.com. "She just takes good care of him. He's just a puppy, so it's house-training and shots and puppy cries right now."

Joey arrived courtesy of Amy Novacek and her husband, former Dallas Cowboy tight end Jay Novacek. Amy, too, has a service dog, which she got after being injured in a horrific car crash.

The couple heard about Hannah's loss through local media coverage of Journey's fatal shooting. The person who pulled the trigger has never been caught, despite extensive efforts, and a reward to find information leading to the perpetrator's arrest.

Tina will never forget that day in January. Hannah was home sick, and her mother was busy taking care of her. Tina recalls opening the door to let Journey and the family's small mutt, Max, outside. The home has a small, fenced-in back yard where the dogs do their business, Tina said.

But Tina was distracted that day and when she went to let the dogs back in about 25 minutes later, the backyard gate was open and the pups were gone. She walked around the house and found Journey lying in the front yard. "I didn't realize there was anything wrong with him," she said.

She went inside to call an emergency veterinarian when she and her father couldn't get Journey to stand. The vet advised her to bring the dog to his office. When they picked up the golden retriever, they saw blood. Tina's dad, who's a hunter, recognized the bullet wound. "My dad was like, 'Oh my God, he's been shot.'''

They drove an agonizing 45 minutes to the vet, who rushed Journey into surgery. He died as the animal care staff began working on him.

"Oh my gosh, it was awful," Tina said. "It was awful for all of us, but it was worse for Hannah."

Tina said the family didn't immediately think about finding a replacement. "We were focused on trying to find who did it," she said.

But then the Novaceks stepped forward and offered a puppy from their 48 Labradoodles Breeding Program. 

For Hannah, it was love at first sight, her mother said.

"She loves him. She just loves him," Tina said.

Joey has a lot of schooling in front of him. He will undergo months of training to recognize the smell Hannah's body gives off if her blood sugar is too high or too low. "It stinks to them," Tina said of the chemicals that are released when blood levels widely fluctuate.

Eventually, Joey will learn to nudge Hannah with his nose when she's in danger, just as Joey did. 

Hannah was diagnosed with juvenile diabetes at age 8. She's been giving herself insulin shots since was 9.

She's never let it interfere with her life. She's an active high school student. She's on the varsity cheer team, and she's currently attending cheer camp, getting ready to try out for next year's squad. 

At night, when she comes home, she spends a lot of time playing with Joey. The puppy hasn't had all of his shots yet, and therefore can't go outside. He has energy to burn and barks his little head off, Tina said. 

But her family is glad indeed to have him around.

"Hannah was very lucky to have Journey," her mother said. "And she's even more lucky to have Joey."

RELATED STORIES

Sully the Service Dog Will Now Help Veterans as Part of His New Job

Service Dog-in-Training Falls in Love With Cinderella at Disneyland in Cute Video

Teen Allergic to 'Almost Everything' Gets Service Dog That Saves Her Life

 

  • Inside EditionMore>>

  • Meghan Markle and Prince Harry Pay Respects to Victims of New Zealand Terror Attacks

    Meghan Markle and Prince Harry Pay Respects to Victims of New Zealand Terror Attacks

    Tuesday, March 19 2019 5:41 PM EDT2019-03-19 21:41:23 GMT
    By Inside Edition Staff, Inside Edition Prince Harry and a very pregnant Meghan Markle paid tribute Tuesday to victims of the New Zealand terror attacks that claimed the lives of at least 50 people. The royal couple brought flowers for a memorial outside the New Zealand House in London and signed a condolence book. "Our deepest condolences. We are with you," Meghan wrote in stylish calligraphy. Harry signed his first name and wrote the Maori word "arohanui," which means "with deep ... 
    Prince Harry and a very pregnant Meghan Markle paid tribute Tuesday to victims of the New Zealand terror attacks that claimed the lives of at least 50 people. 
  • How New Technology Is Helping NYPD Fight Crime: 'This Is About Keeping New York City Safe'

    How New Technology Is Helping NYPD Fight Crime: 'This Is About Keeping New York City Safe'

    Tuesday, March 19 2019 5:21 PM EDT2019-03-19 21:21:23 GMT
    By CAITLIN NOLAN, Inside Edition What started as a peculiar crime quickly turned more sinister when a syringe-wielding man caught trying to steal power drills from a Home Depot in the Bronx attacked an employee with the hypodermic needle. The incident left the employee injured and could have left police stumped, but the NYPD quickly realized the suspect, who got away from the scene, had likely done this before. In another incident, a man caught shoplifting a drill had also waved arou... 
    What started as a peculiar crime quickly turned more sinister when a syringe-wielding man caught trying to steal power drills from a Home Depot in the Bronx attacked an employee with the hypodermic needle. The incident left the employee injured and could have left police stumped, but the NYPD qui... 
  • The Secret Sober Facility Where Wendy Williams Is Staying: Today on Inside Edition

    The Secret Sober Facility Where Wendy Williams Is Staying: Today on Inside Edition

    Tuesday, March 19 2019 5:01 PM EDT2019-03-19 21:01:49 GMT
    By Inside Edition Staff, Inside Edition A tearful Wendy Williams revealed she's been living in a sober house as she battles addiction.  The talk-show host said she'd kept the secret from everyone except her husband and son prior to speaking out Tuesday. What to know about the facility where she's been staying.  Kellyanne Conway and her husband, George Conway, have a complicated relationship, according to The Washington Post's Ben Terris. Hear what he had to say.  The parents of mi... 
    A tearful Wendy Williams revealed she's been living in a sober house as she battles addiction.  
Powered by Frankly
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2019 KFMB-TV. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy, and Terms of Service, and Ad Choices.