In New Hampshire, an awesome diabetic alert Labrador diabetic alert dog works 24/7 to keep her teenage owner alive and well.
Seven years ago, Elle was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. If her blood sugar is too low, she could have a seizure. If it’s too high, she could sustain serious, permanent damage.
In the past, Elle had to test her blood sugar between 10 and 12 times a day.
“And I had to take insulin shots every time I ate, every time my blood sugar was high, and every time before I went to bed,” Elle told ABC News.
Elle’s parents, Stefany Shaheen and Craig Welch, needed to monitor her condition continuously. Then the family learned about diabetes alert dogs which are specially-trained to smell changes in blood sugar levels and signal immediately.
According to Sarah Holbert, it takes at least 2,000 hours to train a service dog. Sarah is the CEO of Cares, Inc., a Kansas organization that provides assistance dogs to people across the country.
“We’re doing scent training, ‘Can you find this?’ ‘Can you find this toy?’ ‘Can you find this ball?’ ‘Can you problem solve?'” Sarah said.
Elle’s family was on a waiting list for two years to get a diabetes alert dog and when she finally met Coach, a yellow Labrador, it was love at first sight.
“The immediate feeling of relief came over me,” Elle said. “Especially the first time he alerted me, just knowing that he was actually going to work.”
During the interview with ABC News, the Labrador dog alerted Elle to an increase in her blood sugar. The teenagerdid an immediate test and found that her blood sugar level was 339.
“If Coach wasn’t here, I probably wouldn’t have tested, and I would’ve sort of blown it off,” she said. “And then I probably would’ve waited another hour or so to test my blood sugar and I would’ve been so much higher.”
Coach has been saving Elle’s life for more than two years.
“I don’t know where I would be without him,” Elle said.
Stefany who has witnessed her daughter and Coach making their way through the world together, says their bond gives her a sense of relief. She has written a book about their journey, titled Elle & Coach, Diabetes, the Fight for My Daughter’s Life, and the Dog Who Changed Everything.