Jedi the dog is more than just a pet. He’s a vigilant lifesaver for a young boy, a scientifically-unexplained marvel, and now an internet star. A Facebook post detailing one the diabetes-sniffing service dog’s heroic rescues is now going viral, according to USA Today.
Luke Nuttall, 7, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when he was just 2-years-old. The deadly disease accounts for just 5 percent of diabetes patients. Moreover, the young boy is hypoglycemic unaware, meaning that his body is so used to his rapid changes in blood-sugar levels that he does not show physical or emotional signs.
That makes Luke is in serious danger at night. About one in 20 type 1 diabetes sufferers die in their sleep in a condition known as “dead in bed syndrome.” That’s where Jedi comes in to save the day.
The boy’s mother, Dorrie, discussed Jedi saving the young boy on the Facebook community page Saving Luke.
“5 minutes before I took this picture we were all asleep. No alarms were going off, no one was checking blood, no one was thinking about diabetes, and it’s in those moments when our guards are down, when we are just living life, when we let our minds drift from diabetes, that it has the upper hand-and things can get scary very fast…but thankfully we have a Jedi.”
She goes on to explain that the dog jumped off the bed and back on to signal that the boy’s glucose was dropping fast. It didn’t wake the parents. Finally, Jedi laid on top of Dorrie, which got her attention.
She wrote, “[T]hen I knew he meant business.”
Still, the boy’s continuous glucose monitoring device showed he was at a normal safe level. The mom tried to assure Jedi that they’d wait and see, but the dog held his ground.
She then wrote, “[T]he sleepy fog started to wear off and I began to think clearer. I suddenly was fully awake and I knew there was an issue.”
She took Luke’s blood directly and found that his glucose was way below normal – the dog was right all along. She gave Luke a glucose pill to save him, but the shock of the near-death situation gave the mother pause. She wrote praises for her canine hero.
“This is a picture of a Jedi saving his boy. Amidst a disease that does everything in its power to make life so much harder, this is a picture of loyalty and love and perseverance. A reminder that we will not let diabetes win, that we will never give up, and that we will always fight for our children.”
— CHUM FM (@1045CHUMFM) March 9, 2016
It wasn’t the first time Jedi saved the day, and it may not be the last. The dog’s ability to save Luke is not just heart-warming but mysterious.
The Nuttall family have an array of devices to monitor Luke’s condition, the products of decades of diabetes research. Nevertheless, for all their sophistication, a dog’s nose is often still more reliable, as shown in the story above. But scientists don’t even know what the dogs are sniffing.
According to the Washington Post, the only facts researchers have are that dog’s noses are anywhere from 10,000 to 100,000 times more sophisticated than our own sense of smell, and a growing body of anecdotal evidence shows that dogs are very good at detected diabetes.
Dogs are also believed to be able to sniff out cancer, deadly bacteria, and oncoming seizures. Their prodigal skill has put diabetes-smelling dogs in high demand, but they are difficult to train. As a result, they cost about $15,000 for an adoption fee and require $1,000 a year in food and other expenses. But for the Nuttall family, Jedi is more than just a boy’s diabetes monitor.
Dorrie wrote online, “[H]is alerts often beat the meters and he saves Luke from lots of the crummy feelings and health issues that go along with each, but Jedi’s job goes beyond alerting, he also saves Luke from being alone, from being scared, he is his constant companion.”
[Photo by Chris Jackson – WPA Pool/Getty Images]