Meet Granite Bay’s ultimate service dog

Shamrock the service dog assists a diabetic staff member

Shamrock the service dog occasionally gets a break from his duties when hes working at Granite Bay High.

Bella Hamilton

Shamrock the service dog occasionally gets a break from his duties when he’s working at Granite Bay High.

  Shamrocks are known as universal symbols for hope, love and luck, and that’s exactly what Granite Bay High School student services attendant Aimee Betgeorge’s service dog Shamrock represents to her.

  His extremely fitting name was given by chance as well, proving how much of a good luck charm the dog really is.

  “Shamrock was born at Guide Dogs for the Blind,” Betgeorge said. “As a service dog, each litter of puppies is assigned a letter.    

  “Shamrock’s litter was assigned ‘S.’ I love his name, and love finding things that I can buy with Shamrocks on them. I would like to think it’s because he is incredibly lucky too!”

  Shamrock is a diabetic alert dog and his main purpose is to alert Betgeorge when her blood sugars reaches unsafe levels.

  “When he alerts me, I am able to have a snack so that my blood sugars don’t get dangerously low,” Betgeorge said.

   Dogs like Shamrock are trained to “ identify a scent obtained from a diabetic when the diabetic is undergoing a low blood sugar” according to Dogs 4 Diabetics.

  Usually anything below 70 is considered low enough for the dog to alert its owner.

  Through this training program they learn to separate all scents from that particular smell.

  Shamrock’s typical day mirrors Betgeorge’s as he must be with her at all times.

  “Shamrock will get up with me in the morning, usually around 5:30 and he gets to eat breakfast. He naps under my desk while I am at work, comes with me to the copy machine and around the office, and he loves to see all of the students that come visit,” Betgeorge said.

  Although Shamrock gets a fair share of playtime and attention from students, it isn’t always warranted.

   Lauren Angelo, a senior, has the opportunity to spend time with Shamrock because of her position as an office teacher’s assistant, and knows the importance of Shamrock staying on task.

  “I wish people knew that they can’t just go up and pet him because he is working and focused,” Angelo said. “Trying to play with him can make him (distracted).”

  Outside of their daily routine, Betgeorge and Shamrock spend time together doing other activities, one of which is attending weekly meetings at Guide Dogs for the Blind.

  “We go to meetings at Guide Dogs for the Blind every Monday and Shamrock gets the opportunity to socialize with other working dogs and I get extra practice with dog handling,” Betgeorge said. “We love (the) meetings, and it’s fun because we both get to learn!”

  Although Shamrock is serious about his work at school, he doesn’t fail to put smiles on the faces of those around him.

  Laura Neal, the school’s athletics coordinator, is constantly in close contact with Shamrock.

  “He lightens the mood (of) everyone around him. He has a soothing way about him and makes you feel good if you are having a rough day,” Neal said.

  Angelo is in agreement and loves his presence within the office.    

  “I have never met anyone who doesn’t fall in love with him,” Betgeorge said. “Shamrock will give me a look, to ask permission to say hi to someone, and he is great at finding people who need a little extra love and need some cheering up.”

  With having a dog accompany her everywhere, Betgeorge sometimes runs into people who don’t understand Shamrock’s purpose.

  “I wish that people understood how important service dogs are to people who need them,” Betgeorge said. “Shamrock saves my life several times a day!

  “Most of the time though, once I explain to people, they realize how amazing he is.”

 Even though making others feel good is one of Shamrock’s specialties, his real job is what makes him such a hero.

  “He is a lifesaver,” Betgeorge said. “He is always with me, so I feel incomplete when he isn’t right by my side!”