Elijah Lidgett was diagnosed with diabetes when he was just five years old. He's now ten, and his family has a new solution to a big problem.
Elijah has a sensor that alerts him when his blood sugar is low or high. However, sometimes when he's sleeping the sound doesn't wake him up. For his father, this is worrisome.
“One of the fears you have as a parent as a child with diabetes is they’re going to fall asleep one day and their blood sugar goes low and they’re not going to wake up," David Lidgett says. “Sometimes his pump goes off and says hey you’re low or high and he’s still doesn’t hear it because he’s ten and sleeping.”
Two years ago, David heard a radio ad for service dogs who help people with diabetes. The dogs are able to sense when their owner's blood sugar is high or low and alert them by pawing them. If they are sleeping, the dog can either wake up their owner or in Elijah's case, wake his parents up to alert them of the change.
Tuesday morning, Elijah and his new dog, Gigi, were united for the first time. Within only a couple hours of them being together, Gigi was able to alert Elijah of a drop in his blood sugar.
“It was just so awesome to see her just focus in on him and she’s only been here for a day so I can’t imagine what the next ten years will hold," says David.
Here's how it works: a diabetic alert dog is able to smell their owner's blood sugar fluctuations. They then can alert the person 20-45 minutes in advance, giving the person time to fix the levels. The dogs begin their training at just seven weeks old.
It cost the family $25,000 to purchase Gigi. They did it through a company called Service Dogs By Warren Retrievers. Through bake sales and fundraisers, they were able to raise the money in just a year.