Introducing Honig Winery’s first furry employee, Honey the yellow lab. That’s right, the family’s four-legged friend will now be a crucial part of the Honig Winery operations, and it doesn’t stop there. The proficient pup will not only be trained for pest control maintenance at the winery, but will also be used to monitor the owner’s daughter Sophia’s blood sugar levels. Two very important roles indeed.
As PR Newswire reports, about ten years ago, Michael Honig, the president and CEO of Honig Vineyard and Winery, began working with the Assistance Dog Institute, otherwise known as Bergin University, to assist in the training of golden retrievers. The dogs were capable of detecting the “female mealybug pheromone” that afflicts vineyards. As with many diseases, the earlier found the better, as winemakers are able to treat and remove afflicted vines.
Shortly after his work with the pups, Michael Honig and his wife Stephanie’s daughter, Sophia, was born. Upon her arrival, she was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, a disease which causes the pancreas to produce minimal to no insulin. The family checks Sophia’s glucose 15 to 20 times per day; if blood sugar decreases too much, terrible consequences such as seizures could occur, leading to brain damage or life threatening consequences.
Enter Honey, the precious yellow lab pup, who’ll serve as both Sophia’s insulin monitor and the winery’s pest detector. The pup will first learn how to detect Sophia’s blood sugar levels (she uses both an insulin pump and glucose monitor) and should they drop too low, alert her parents to assess the situation. Following her glucose level training, Honey will begin her scent-sniffing training in the vineyard, helping to prevent the issue of mealybugs infesting the company’s harvest.
Pest-detector by day, diabetic-alert dog by night. This Very Important Pup is certainly earning her keep over at Honig Vineyards and Winery.