Diabetes detecting dive dog sparks Houston business

HOUSTON – Murphy is a nearly 2-year old German short-haired pointer and he loves dock diving. But that’s not why Emily Hyler has him.

“I’m a type one diabetic. I was diagnosed when I was 4 years old. I’m starting to be hypoglycemic. I don’t always know when I’m going low,” Hyler said.

That’s where Murphy comes in. He can tell when her blood sugar level is off.

“What they think dogs are sensing is there’s a chemical enzyme that changes in the body when blood sugar raises or lowers and it’s through bodily fluids so your saliva, your sweat, things like that,” Hyler said.

They first brought Murphy home to Texas from Maryland when he was 10 weeks old.

“We started him immediately into obedience. At about 12 weeks, we started him scent training for diabetes,” Hyler said.

However, it wasn’t long before his natural dock diving abilities emerged.

“At 4 or 5 months old, and he would run into the water. His toes would touch the water and he’d leap about six feet in the air and just splash so we thought maybe this dog will jump off a dock,” Hyler said.

After a bit of training, they entered him into competition.

“He did 21 feet, nine inches at his first competition at 10 months old,” Hyler said. “We went to his second competition when he, the weekend of his first birthday and he set the breed record for German short-haired pointers. He jumped 28 feet. From then on, we were just hooked.”

That's when they decided to create Houston Dive Dogs.

“It was never a, ‘Man, I want to build a pool in my front yard’ until him,” Hyler said.

Houston Dive Dogs is open to the public by reservation.

In fact, one of Emily’s goals is to get as many dogs and their owners as possible involved with the sport. As such, not only does she run the dock diving training facility, she also offers lessons to both owners and their canine companions.

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