Thanks to his dog Jedi, Luke Nuttall is alive and well today. Jedi is Luke’s specially trained diabetic alert dog, and without Jedi, things for the Nuttall family would be considerably more difficult. The adorable little pup can actually tell when Luke’s blood sugar either spikes or drops dangerously low, and alerts the family so something can be done before the worst happened.
Recently, Jedi sensed that Luke’s blood sugar levels were dangerously low. The little dog didn’t hesitate at all. He went over to Luke’s mother, and laid on her until she got up and checked Luke’s sugar. After a quick blood test, she found out that Luke’s sugar was reading at 57mg/dl, a perilously low number.
“Luke was laying right next to me, just inches from me, and without Jedi I would have had no idea that he was dropping out of a safe range,” said Dorrie, Luke’s mom.
At just two years of age, Luke was given a diagnosis of having type 1 (juvenile) diabetes. Only about five percent of people that are diabetic have type 1, and it can be very difficult to deal with. The fact that no one in their family has ever been known to have this disease left them at a bit of a disadvantage. Having no experience with how to manage it can make dealing with the ups and downs that come along with it very challenging.
“We don’t have a single member of our family with diabetes. I knew nothing about it. Nothing,” said Dorrie. “A lot of kids die almost at diagnosis. People don’t know the warning signs.”
Luke now does very regular blood sugar level checks, and even has a glucose monitoring system embedded under his skin to keep tabs on him. The technology has been helpful, but there is one other “piece of equipment” that’s been the most helpful to the family – Jedi.
Jedi started his training at just 11 weeks old. He’s a fully trained and certified diabetic alert dog, or DAD. He uses his extra sensitive sniffer to tell when Luke’s blood sugar levels deviate too far from “normal,” or at very least, safe levels.
However, that’s not all that Jedi does. Doctor visits can be a scary thing, especially when you’re very little and you don’t fully understand everything that’s going on. Jedi also helps with Luke’s anxiety. The pair are completely inseparable, and have a deep connection to one another.
“They love each other,” Dorie said. “I can’t explain their connection; it’s very strong and very beautiful. Jedi’s alerts often beat the meters and he saves Luke from lots of the crummy feelings and health issues that go along with each. But Jedi’s job goes beyond alerting – he also saves Luke from being alone, from being scared; he is his constant companion.”