Medical dog Skye keeps ailing Angelo Agrizzi in check

Skye, the medical dog of former Bosasa executive Angelo Agrizzi. Picture: Supplied

Skye, the medical dog of former Bosasa executive Angelo Agrizzi. Picture: Supplied

Published Mar 14, 2023


Pretoria - Former Bosasa executive Angelo Agrizzi may not be in the good books of the National Prosecuting Authority, but he has a true fan and a shadow at home: his medical dog called Skye.

Agrizzi, who is on bail and said to be severely ill, is spending his days at home alongside his trusted aid.

Although the 3-year-old appeared to be a Great Dane, Agrizzi said she was merely a Dane, as she turned out to be a bit smaller. But nevertheless, she has a huge heart.

“Skye is super special. She is my confidant and friend,” Agrizzi told the Pretoria News.

Former Bosasa executive Angelo Agrizzi. Picture: Oupa Mokoena/African News Agency (ANA)

“Skye arrived as a puppy, boisterous and with a character of note. But from the onset she displayed the unique ability to absorb whatever training you’d give her. Skye was like a sponge. She soaked up every ounce of training.”

Having trained rescued Capuchin monkeys in the past to assist with the disabled, Agrizzi noticed Skye displayed the attributes that would see her become not only one of the fastest learners, but also “the most retentive of assistance dogs”.

While Skye was initially brought into the Agrizzi household as merely a pet, her attributes were discovered when Agrizzi suffered a major health setback.

He said he was now dependant on oxygen to maintain his saturation levels and was battling with issues related to his blood glucose elements, that if not kept in check, would result in him having an hypoxic syncope, fainting or blacking out.

This is where Skye intervenes.

Through a process of repetition and being constantly with Agrizzi, Skye has learnt to identify nuances, and with highly sensitive smell and sensory abilities, is able to identify and prevent potential risk events.

“With a 10 000 times stronger sense of smell, sudden changes in hormone levels, breath and breathing patterns, Skye’s intervention often prevents me from having an episode.

“When a fluctuation occurs, the alerts begin with a gentle nudging and progress within a few seconds to her pawing me. If I’m sitting in a chair, she’ll position herself in front of me, to ensure if something should happen to me, a potential fall is cushioned.”

But this is not the end of Skye’s skills. She is also trained to fetch a portable oxygen concentrator of about 2.5kg, which is always close in case of power cuts and emergencies.

“More importantly, Skye realises her own limitations and knows time is of the essence. That help is always near, and she will notify the nurse or the closest person,” Agrizzi said.

He adds that she has a “typically caring and nurturing nature”.

“People often think that they (Danes) need vast open spaces, but this is not so at all. Skye is happiest at my feet or on a couch close to me. She is, and acts like, a princess – refined and a little snobbish at the best of times.”

Jokingly, he said she was no daddy’s girl, as she knew daddy was just hard work.

But, it is not just all work and no play. Thursdays are Skye’s days off, when she is fetched early in the morning to visit what Agrizzi described as a sort of “spa day” for dogs.

Pretoria News