This dog isn't just a family pet - he's a lifesaver
March 8, 2016 4:37 PM   Subscribe

Jedi is a diabetic alert dog who keeps watch over Nuttall's seven-year-old son, Luke, who has suffered from type 1 diabetes since the age of two. Jedi is trained to monitor Luke's blood sugar to keep it from getting too low or too high, and to let Nuttall know when something is not right.
posted by raider (16 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
I still will never get tired of living in the future.
posted by Etrigan at 4:57 PM on March 8, 2016 [4 favorites]

I have a nephew with Type 1 diabetes. My sister gets up in the middle of the night, every night, to check his blood sugar. As the mom said in her Facebook post, "being a pancreas is hard." Extraordinary what these dogs can do. Sadly, when we learned about diabetic alert dogs, my nephew was just a bit too old to want one. He loves dogs, but he didn't want the attention. He already feels enough of an outsider/freak with his pump and constant visits to the nurse's office. Anyway, great story. Hopefully there will be a cure soon. thanks for the post.
posted by pjsky at 5:07 PM on March 8, 2016 [2 favorites]

The force is strong in this one.
posted by eriko at 5:14 PM on March 8, 2016 [3 favorites]

Dogs are... jesus. I love them.

We just lost ours. She was 14 and, coincidentally, had diabetes. We love you, Midnight.
posted by ducky l'orange at 5:26 PM on March 8, 2016 [8 favorites]

I love dogs and I love this but can anyone explain even the basic science behind this? What do we theorize the dog smells or senses? HOW DOES THE AWESOME WERK? TELL VRAK TELL VRAK NOW.
posted by vrakatar at 5:40 PM on March 8, 2016 [3 favorites]

varkatar: from
Rapid changes in the blood sugar levels cause chemical changes in the body that are expressed through a person’s breath and skin, and include unique chemical elements that the dog can smell.
And perhaps more interestingly (emphasis mine)...
Our experience indicates that the identifiable changes in a diabetic’s chemistry derived from his breath or sweat precedes the measurable change in blood sugar currently measured by glucose meters by 15 to 30 minutes.
posted by ethidda at 5:46 PM on March 8, 2016 [5 favorites]

posted by Joe in Australia at 6:05 PM on March 8, 2016 [14 favorites]

A friend of mine has a daughter with Type 1, and they got a diabetic alert dog a few years ago. That had been a godsend to them, making activities that the little girl enjoys, like soccer, less worrisome.
posted by weathergal at 7:04 PM on March 8, 2016 [1 favorite]

Through a series of unlikely events I ended up adopting a hound a couple of years ago. Hounds don't really fit my lifestyle; my collie mutt is trustworthy off-leash but my hound will never be. Anyway, being a good dog-parent I've taken the time to figure out what my hound is good at and likes to do. And you know what? This free* retired hunting dog is a therapy dog who works with special-needs kids, and she's training with a police bloodhound to track people. I'm considering going full-nut and getting her certified as a SAR dog.

Dogs are amazing.

* To quote my vet, "There's no such thing as a free dog."
posted by workerant at 7:12 PM on March 8, 2016 [6 favorites]

This is one of the most amazing things I have ever read. Dogs are incredible.
posted by OrangeDisk at 7:12 PM on March 8, 2016

Sorry to hear that ducky. Lost our Weim Bismarck two years ago, and still have the hole in my heart.
posted by herda05 at 7:22 PM on March 8, 2016

We were watching an Animal Planet show that featured Jedi just this weekend, as we sat by my 4yo daughter's gurney in the ER. She'd fallen down the stairs and then seemed lethargic, and then started vomiting, and so we brought her into the peds ER. They gave her a teeny hospital gown with tigers, and the smallest cervical collar I've ever seen (still too big) and she threw up some more and lay listlessly on her bed. My son (9) curled up on his dad's lap, holding my left hand, and saying quietly that he was scared. Eventually she was pronounced "just concussed," no bleed, X-rays clear, and by then she had perked up and even had some milk. On the way out both kids wanted a snack and we realized it was 1pm and nobody had eaten anything yet. First we'd noticed.

I guess what I'm saying is that kids seem invulnerable until they don't, and I can't imagine how much peace of mind Jedi contributes to his family's life.

(On the way home: "Momma? If I ever fall and throw up and have to go to the hospital again?" "What, honey?" "Can I have more Cheetos?")
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 7:57 PM on March 8, 2016 [3 favorites]

A friend who lives in Phoenix told me about Orion and the NHL player he works with.
I gotta agree with Etrigan, the future is pretty great.
posted by pointystick at 4:37 AM on March 9, 2016 [1 favorite]

Dogs are... jesus. I love them.

Dogs are better than Jesus. Never saw a dog judge or condemn anyone.
posted by prepmonkey at 10:14 AM on March 9, 2016 [1 favorite]

Actually it's not just dogs. I've had Type 1 for 25 years and my cat is often the first to realize there are bloodsugar issues to be dealt with. In particular, the cat who considers me to be his human literally saved my life a couple of times when I lived alone for 6 months after graduating college. (Living alone as a Type 1 scared the heck out of me whenever I stopped to think about it, since what if I messed up and no one noticed right away...?)

When I was a kid and my parents let me get my first cat who was really "mine" he became my protector. He'd wake me up at night to check my bloodsugar and just generally kept an eye on things. My parents like to say he was the best pet we ever got because of how much he helped out.

None of my cats were officially sanctioned or trained and I was very lucky to have pretty good control, but pets are awesome in what they can do. Just knowing someone (even a fuzzy someone) was looking out for me made a huge difference in the stress and anxiety levels that come with living with something like Type 1.
posted by scififan at 12:40 PM on March 9, 2016 [2 favorites]

In particular, the cat who considers me to be his human literally saved my life a couple of times when I lived alone for 6 months after graduating college.

This is totally true, and he still does that, usually before I notice anything at all.

Best Cat Ever.
posted by pan at 3:50 PM on March 9, 2016 [1 favorite]

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