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SPANISH FORK — Like many other people this Christmas, Sabrina Rasband got a dog.
"My family, they gave me a box and I didn't know what it was. So I opened it, and it was a bunch of dog things,” Sabrina said with a smile.
The 14-year-old Spanish Fork resident asked her family members for a particular kind of dog for Christmas. When she saw airplane tickets, she knew her wish was about to come true.
“Then my mom told me we're going to get Rosie tomorrow,” Sabrina recalled.
The emotional moment when girl met dog was captured on video and posted to YouTube by Sabrina's family.
Rosie looks like any other dog — white, fluffy, slipping on the smooth Salt Lake City International Airport floor. But Rosie has a special gift most dogs don't have: She knows when her new owner's blood sugar level is low.
"Sometimes my body doesn't catch it and I’ll just end up having a seizure, which is really scary because it causes brain damage and nerve damage,” Sabrina, who has diabetes.
The seizures are especially troubling because Sabrina is planning on getting her driver's permit next year.
"It's scary because I don't want to cause a wreck,” she said through tears.
That's where Rosie comes in. She's trained to smell the change in blood sugar when it goes too low. Rosie will alert Sabrina to the problem by putting her paw on her owner.
She's a little more persistent because she's always sitting there, 'Paw, paw, I will jump up on you, paw,' so I know I have to listen to her. It takes the burden off of my mom of constantly worrying.
–Sabrina Rasband, Rosie's owner
“She’s a little more persistent because she’s always sitting there, ‘Paw, paw, I will jump up on you, paw,’ so I know I have to listen to her," Sabrina said. "It takes the burden off of my mom of constantly worrying."
Melinda Rasband noticed the special bond her daughter has with Rosie right away.
“The look on Sabrina's face, I didn't realize how much this was going to mean to her,” Rasband said. “I don’t live with diabetes every day, but I live with a daughter who does, and I love my daughter.”
But dogs like Rosie aren’t cheap. "Twenty-five thousand dollars is a lot of money to come up with,” Rasband said.
The family passed out flyers, started an online donation site, and even asked friends and co-workers for help. Sabrina made a video to try to get people to give to her cause.
When Rosie's breeder saw that video, she decided to give the dog to the family and allow them a whole year to pay for her.
“That is a lot of money for a dog, and I thought maybe too much, but when I saw my daughter with Rosie I didn’t need convincing anymore. I knew she was worth every penny,” Rasband said.
The special bond Sabrina and Rosie share could one day save her life.
"I couldn't ask for a better Christmas gift because this is all I wanted,” Sabrina said.
So far, the family has raised roughly $2,200 for the dog.
If you would like to help the family, they have a GoFundMe online donation page. You can also visit any Mountain America Credit Union branch and donate to the account “Sabrina’s Service Alert Dog” fund*.
Contributing: Alan Neves
*KSL.com has not verified the accuracy of the information provided with respect to the account nor does KSL.com assure that the monies deposited to the account will be applied for the benefit of the persons named as beneficiaries. If you are considering a deposit to the account you should consult your own advisors and otherwise proceed at your own risk.