Five-year-old Luke got on a crowded elevator with his mom and black Lab, Jedi. The elevator was quiet until Luke turned to the person beside him and said, “You can’t pet him. He’s working.” Then, after a pause, Luke added, “But you’ve got to pet his ears. They’re so soft.”
Jedi is always working. He’s a diabetic alert dog trained to detect, by smell, drops and rises in Luke’s blood sugar levels. His sense is so acute that he often detects changes before the glucose meter does. He then immediately alerts Luke’s mother, Dorrie. This special skill is just one part of his unique relationship with Luke.
“Luke is really, really proud of Jedi,” says Dorrie. “He is so willing to tell people, ‘I have Type 1 diabetes.’” While some kids with this condition may be embarrassed by it, especially as they get older, Luke (now 8) embraces the fact that he is a little bit different.
“I think Jedi has given Luke this [sense], ‘Yeah, I’m not exactly like you, but I have this really cool dog that is always with me and loves me, and I’m totally OK with that,’” Dorrie adds.