Dog detects changes in boy's blood sugar

(CNN/WBMA) A diabetic boy in Alabama is getting life-saving help from a four-legged friend who can detect dangerous changes in his blood sugar.

"He helps me to where I don't go too low or too high," says Xander Bonelli who has a new friend in his life.

Meet his dog named 'Hawk.'

"He's a furry friend that can sleep with me," Xander says.

The 9-month-old pup is specially trained to detect sudden highs and lows in Xander's blood sugar. Xander was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when he was four.

"It makes me like friendly when I'm high, but when I'm low I get all hostigy."

The family sought a dog like Hawk to help monitor Xander. One big hurdle: the dog came with a $20,000 price tag. Luckily, they were able to get help.

All of the money came from an organization called Miracles of Hope. They help families affected by diabetes -- offering resources and help in securing a diabetic assistance dog. The rest of the money came from generous donations from people around the country.

"I've been very appreciative to all of the people who have helped in getting us to this point," says Xander's mother Melissa Powe.

Since October, Hawk has undergone intense training geared toward monitoring Xander. Cotton balls carrying Xander's saliva were sent to the dog's trainer as well.

"First, he went through obedience training. Then, he went through a familiarizing period where he got familiar with different sounds, different situations with large numbers of people. And then I sent in samples with his high and lows and normal," says Powe.

Now with his new family, Hawk has been able to alert Powe to changes in Xander's blood sugar. For the first time in six years, Powe is finally able to get a good night's sleep.

"I still stay up late and do my midnight check, but when I do get to go to sleep, it's a deeper sleep. I don't sit there with one eye open thinking should I check him again, is it okay to go to sleep. Am I going to miss something," she says.

Motivated to help other families, Powe is paying it forward by working with the organization that helped get Hawk to Holly Pond.

"We want other parents to have the same sense of peace and security that I have," says Powe.

"He's really good," says Xander.


To find out more about Facebook commenting please read the
Conversation Guidelines and FAQs

Leave a Comment