Articles, Blog

Service dog helps student manage Type 1 diabetes

November 8, 2019

This isn’t just an ordinary dog. This is
Benson and Benson is the current service dog for the young woman standing next to
him who is a freshman at Etiwanda High School and currently suffers from a
serious autoimmune disease where the pancreas stops producing insulin, also
known as type 1 diabetes. We trained with him for around two years and then we got
officially placed with him like the next like a year and a half or so and then we
started going like on outings like the mall, to the movies, museums and then the
end of eighth grade is when I started taking him to school. Not every day is an
easy day in Taylor’s life but Benson is always there for her when she needs him
the most. One night Taylor’s blood sugar levels were abnormally high and Benson
was able to sense them through her breath which is a scent that is
undetectable by humans. I tested my blood right before I went to bed and I was
like 400 and so I went back to bed after I gave myself a lot of insulin trying to
bring it down, drinking water, and then he wakes up 15 minutes later and is still
bugging me I told him “I know” I ignored him I went back to bed and I woke up
like maybe an hour later with him on top of me breathing on my face licking my
face at it and I decided to check and I was like 43. At home Benson gets to play
and be like any other household pet but Benson never forgets to do his job. I have everything that I could possibly
have that’s FDA approved and some things that weren’t FDA approved for my
daughter. When your daughter almost dies you kind of lose your mind at that
moment. You’re just like what can I get what is out there and you research and
you do all this stuff because you want her to have a good quality of life as well. I
didn’t hear about service dogs initially the first year she was diagnosed we just
were learning the disease it wasn’t until we were on Facebook and a good
person who was in the diabetic community, were watching her journey of her
and her daughter and her service dog and Taylor and I used to watch their
videos just in awe and I wanted something that took the focus away from
this horrible disease and kind of brought some happiness to it. I don’t
know how to explain it. It was something that we giggled about and we watched the
dog online and we were like oh that’s so cute and he’s so awesome.
While it was about the disease it was really about the dog. Benson accompanies Taylor to every class except for PE, providing classmates with a new
experience. Everyone loves having him in the class and he’s not a distraction or
anything but I think it makes our class fun. Having a dog in the classroom is
pretty cool actually it’s a experience that I’ve never really had before in
school. The teacher loves Benson, I think sometimes more than some of the
students, and she kind of just treats Benson like another student. It’s kind of
interesting, it always allows her to have at least one friend with her, like one
companion, one person with her at all times. Through the companionship between
service dog and owner, side by side, hand in hand, or wait, hand in paw. There will
never be a day where there isn’t a smile on this young woman’s face.

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