Jun 6, 2012 5:47 PM
TUCSON - Some of Kristi's Kids have the difficult job of navigating diabetes which includes constantly checking their blood sugar-level.
There's good news for kids like Max Jacobson. Max was diagnosed with diabetes when he was nine. He had to learn how to give himself insulin shots.
"And that really freaked me out because I hated shots. And five shots a day is a lot."
His parents were overwhelmed.
"Learning the formulas of how much to eat, how many carbs you're eating and how much insulin to give", says Teresa Jacobson, Max's mom.
If Max's numbers get to low he could slip into a coma. This can be deadly for people with diabetes.
"We're still getting up in the middle of the night checking Max's blood sugar," says Teresa.
Veronica Zimmerman knows. She also had diabetes as a kid. Years ago she had a Chihuahua who could detect when her levels are low and wake up her husband.
"Otherwise I probably wouldn't be here because of that dog," says Veronica.
Veronica started V's Cloud 9 K-9. Her company helps patients like Max train dogs to alert them when blood sugars get critically low.
When the glucose levels are off the body creates a type of adrenaline that humans can't detect it but a dog's nose knows. The person's scent will change.
Max got Mikey, a golden doodle a year ago.
He's trained to paw at Max when his blood sugars are low then Max knows to check his levels.
"I wouldn't be able to manage my numbers as good and then I would have like damage to organs and stuff like that."
There's another benefit for kids with diabetes. With Veronica's help Max does most of Mikey's training. That creates a bond and a boost for Max's confidence.
Max recommends other patients could benefit from diabetic alert dog, if you are willing to put in the work of training a canine.