For Sparr Heights mother Dorrie Nuttall, giving her three-year-old son Luke a diabetic alert dog means saving his life and allowing her family some peace of mind.
Luke has type 1 diabetes and is hypoglycemic and hypoglycemic unaware, meaning he cannot tell when his blood sugar drops to dangerously high or low levels – which can be fatal.
"His pancreas has failed, he makes no insulin and is thus insulin dependent. We have to monitor his blood 24 hours a day, testing him every 2 to 3 hours all day and all night," Nuttall told Patch.
His family invites the community to a fundraiser in Montrose to help pay for the dog on Friday, Nov. 16 at 7:30 p.m. at 818 Lounge, 3710 Verdugo Rd., Montrose.
All proceeds go directly to Luke's Diabetic Alert Dog, the training and costs that go along with getting this life saving service dog from Canine Hope for Diabetics.
Most kids are not diagnozed with type 1 diabetes until they are near 9-years-old, she said.
"No one knows why these children get this disease no one know how to prevent it. It doesn't get better with age and there is no cure. Luke cannot tell us when he feels his blood sugar rising or falling so he is always in danger," she said.
High blood sugars damage the organs and can lead to coma, amputation, organ failure and death, she said. Low blood sugars can lead to coma, seizures and death, Nutall explained.
A diabetic alert dog would use scent to alert the Nutall family when Luke's blood sugar levels rise and fall.
"I have seen these dogs alert their owners and my son, it is truly amazing to see," she said.
The family is working with a nonprofit called Canine hope for Diabetics. The organization is located in Riverside, where they are raising Luke's puppy.
"They imprint the dog from bith with the low blood sugar scent, they temperament test and evaluate each puppy to find one that will hopefully be a successful alert dog for Luke. They provide training and support as the dog grows and requires more training. The fundraiser will pay for the dog, the training and the supplies a diabetic alert dog needs," she said.
Luke's dog will be his companion.
"It will be a service dog and will go with us everywhere we go so that Luke can run around and be a kid, while the dog watches over him," Nuttall said.
Click HERE to learn more about the event.