For 6-year-old Hayden Van Hauwaert her new puppy is a lifesaver. At only 13-weeks old Maggie has already potentially saved Hayden’s life several times in her work as a diabetic alert dog.
Earlier this year Hayden was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. Her parents decided that to help Hayden they would get her a diabetic alert dog. Last week Maggie was flown to start her life as Hayden’s service dog. Immediately Maggie started to go to work. Maggie is part of Hayden’s diabetes management plan, as Maggie still needs to self-test several times of day to make sure her glucose level is okay.
Maggie alerts Hayden by whining or barking when she senses Hayden’s glucose levels are off. The diabetic community is very supportive of the use of service dogs but warns about using such a young dog. “There is no quick fix,” said Lisa Kelly who runs Dogs for Cures in Washington. “If someone says they can rain a dog in two months and get them to you, you should run I mean, there’s no shortcuts.”
The Van Hauwaerts are confident though that Maggie is helping manage Hayden’s diabetes and has led to Hayden self-checking her glucose more often. “If anything, Hayden went from checking her blood from six to ten times a day to now like 15-20 because every time the dog alerts, we make her check,” said Hayden’s mom, Joelle.