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Christmas with Snickers, Pa.'s smallest service dog

Bill Kalina
York Dispatch

Like most of us, Wally Miller goes about his holiday routine surrounded by friends and family.

But his constant, most devoted companion is Snickers, his 9-year-old applehead teacup Chihuahua.

Medical service dog Snickers and her owner, Wally Miller of, try on some of her outfits at Miller's York City home Monday, Dec. 17, 2018. Wally, a diabetic, relies on the Chihuahua who can sense a drop in his blood sugar levels. Bill Kalina photo

“She goes everywhere we do on the holidays,” the York City man said.

Miller says she is the state’s smallest service dog, weighing in at 2½ pounds. He has a commendation from Gov. Tom Wolf to prove it.

The tiny pup is tucked in Miller’s jacket on a cold night visiting a Christmas light display, balled up on a fleece blanket in a shopping cart during a Thanksgiving Day trip to Target and sitting calmly in a noisy roller rink during a family outing.

Wally Miller of York City answers questions about his service dog Snickers during an outing with family members at Mr Q's Family Skate Center in West York Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2018. Snickers, a chihuahua, senses drops in blood sugar in Miller, a diabetic. Bill Kalina photo

A diabetic, Miller said Snickers can alert him to blood sugar abnormalities by smelling his skin.

Most notably, Miller credits the dog with saving his life in 2013. Before he knew he was in the throes of a stroke, Snickers began to act strangely. By the time Miller alerted his wife to the dog’s behavior, Miller began to lose his ability to speak.

Doctors said the early warning saved Miller from long-term paralysis or death.

What does the smallest service dog want for Christmas?

Clothing, of course.

“She has three bags full of Christmas and holiday clothing,” Miller said. In addition, she has summer outfits, including a bikini, and a winter hunting vest. It’s reversible, with her choice of blaze orange or camouflage.

Medical service dog Snickers and her owner, Wally Miller of, try on some of her outfits at Miller's York City home Monday, Dec. 17, 2018. Wally, a diabetic, relies on the Chihuahua who can sense a drop in his blood sugar levels. Bill Kalina photo

On a recent holiday shopping trip, Miller welcomed the attention his prized dog calmly received from fellow shoppers.

“She’s an amazing little girl,” he said.

Wally Miller of York City and his service dog Snickers arrive  at an outing with family members at Mr Q's Family Skate Center in West York Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2018. Snickers, a chihuahua, senses drops in blood sugar in Miller, a diabetic. Bill Kalina photo
Wally Miller of York City and his service dog Snickers visit Never Done Ministries' Christmas display Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2018. Snickers, a chihuahua, senses drops in blood sugar in Miller, a diabetic. Bill Kalina photo