PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Medical service dogs can be trained to sense low or high blood sugars.
A local girl who was recently diagnosed with diabetes, needs some help to get one.
Lucia’s little hands help put in a testing strip to test her blood sugar as part of her daily routine blood tests.
It’s a constant worry for Sarah Mangan, who took her sweet 2-year-old to the hospital with flu-like symptoms in March.
It was later determined that Lucia, who’s known to all as Lulu, has Type 1 diabetes.
“We were there for like five minutes, and they thought she had the flu too until they tested her sugars and found out that she was in DKA is what they call it, which is diabetic shock,” Sarah Mangan said.
By all accounts, Lulu is a happy little girl. However, all of the risks have created sleepless nights for Sarah and her husband.
Being so new to treating a child with diabetes, one of the biggest concerns is that Lulu can’t tell her parents when she’s feeling any symptoms of low or high blood sugar.
“They can have seizures if it drops too low. So it’s really scary, especially at night. I almost want to keep her next to me,” Mangan said.
That’s where a service dog comes in. 4 Paws for Ability is an organization based in Ohio. They train service dogs for all types of medical issues, including diabetes.
“The diabetic alert dog, what they do, is they can sense when her sugars drop too low, or too high. They can sense it even before her meters can tell us,” Mangan said.
But to keep a waiting list to a minimum for families, they request a donation in the amount of $13,000, which is about half of what it costs to train and place the dogs.
“We’re also thinking of doing a hockey tournament fundraiser to raise funds,” Mangan said.
It hasn’t been easy with four young children, but the Mangans know how important the dog is.
“The dog can potentially save her life,” Mangan said.
While there is still a lot of work to be done, the Mangan family is hoping to have the funds needed for the dog in about five months.
For more information on 4 Paws for Ability, please visit their website: http://4pawsforability.org/.
You can also learn more about Lulu by going to this blog: http://paws4lucia.blogspot.ca/ or at http://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?id=353294131406933&story_fbid=357461394323540#!/paws4lucia.