(THERAPY DOG/VIDEO) While there have been several instances of dogs finding illness in their guardians, some dogs have actually been trained to help type 1 diabetics detect changes in blood sugar. Ruby, a Diabetic Alert Dog, has been helping three-year-old Faith Wilson and her family manage Faith’s diabetes since she was 18 months-old. Read on about the incredible difference Ruby has made in Faith’s life. — Global Animal
WFAA, Shelly Slater
She goes through the drill around 30 times a day to keep her Type 1 diabetes in check.
By her side, is Ruby – a dog more like a doctor.
Ruby’s job is to sense a change in Faith’s scent, before her blood sugar levels plummet or sky rocket. She then uses a sign used by search-and-rescue dogs to alert mom Sarah, who use to get up every two hours to test her daughter’s levels.
“If I wake up and wonder, I look around and if Ruby is not in my room, I got back to sleep,” said mom Sarah Wilson. “Because I know Ruby is on the case.”
Ruby will alert Faith’s mom sometimes up to 45 minutes in advance of a problem, and the two don’t even have to be in the same room.
“Ruby! Here, here,” exclaimed three-year-old Faith.
Sure enough, for the fourth time in one hour, Faith’s blood sugars were too high. With that, her mom administers insulin, using a device connected to an IV on her leg.
“She wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for Ruby,” Wilson said. “Ruby has saved her life 100 times.”
Without the Diabetes Friendly Foundation, the Wilsons couldn’t afford Ruby. The dog costs $10,000.
Charity members say seeing this work motivates them.
“Reacting, seeing the highs and lows, it really makes your hair stand up. It really does,” said Cole Egger with the Diabetes Friendly Foundation.
Faith got Ruby at 18-months-old, making her the youngest diabetic to do so.
Her case was a test trial, one with promise.
“It had never been done, they didn’t know how exactly it work out with a baby,” Wilson said. “They have all the extra smells an older child wouldn’t have, like wearing diapers and drooling on themselves.”
Ruby and Faith are breaking new ground.
“It is rare and new it’s still in its infancy, if you will, but to have a lifeline like Ruby is priceless,” Egger said.
Wilson was overcome with emotion talking about the dog.
“I can’t even put it into words what it has meant for our family, we are so grateful,” said Wilson, with tears in her eyes.
Because this dog – in more ways that one – gives her Faith.