I read an amazing article today about a little boy and his dog. Sounds like your typical idyllic childhood, doesn’t it? Unfortunately it isn’t quite that simple. This little boy’s dog is not only his best friend, but he’s also been trained to help monitor his blood glucose. Luke, the little boy, has type 1 diabetes and has since he was about 2 years old. His blood glucose levels fluctuate so wildly that he’s often woken up at regular intervals in the night to take glucose tablets. And then there’s Jedi, his trusty canine companion and living, breathing glucose monitor.
The story goes that one night Luke’s mom had checked his glucose and then fallen asleep. Five minutes later Jedi had come in and woken her up, signaling that Luke’s glucose was low. Luke’s mom checked a digital readout that was broadcast into her bedroom from Luke’s, saw that it showed a safe number, and promptly went back to sleep, ignoring Jedi. But Jedi was not deterred and continued to nudge her until she humored him by going to Luke, taking a blood sample, and to her surprise his glucose levels were dangerously low. The digital readout was wrong! But Jedi wasn’t, and he was also, thankfully, stubborn! Luke was given what he needed to stabilize him and it was an all around happy ending.
Being a dog lover, I couldn’t help but be impressed and amazed at this dog’s ability to sniff out an unacceptable blood glucose level in a little boy. And considering March 22nd is National Diabetes Alert Day, I thought the article was very apropos.
It also brings to light the struggle that those with Diabetes have to deal with on a daily basis, of monitoring their levels and having what they need on hand all the time to combat a spike or drop in glucose. They need our support, and so for anyone who can’t sniff out glucose levels (so… everyone) that means donating to diabetes charities, being there for the diabetics in your life, and wearing awareness ribbons lapel pins to let them know we’re fighting for them.