A 5-year-old Virginia boy is getting some big help in keeping his diabetes in check, thanks to a specially trained four legged friend named Harley.
Harley, 17 weeks old, looks like any other playful black lab. But she's on the clock. Her job is to stay with Will to let him know - by smelling him - when his blood glucose level spikes too high or dips too low
“It is an odor that your body produces,” says dog trainer Cheri Campbell. “When you go high, it's sweet. Low is acetone smell.”
Training Labradors to be diabetic alert dogs is pretty new. They say it’s similar to training dogs to detect explosives.
In Harley's first 24 hours with Will, she alerted him six times that his blood glucose level was off - once dangerously so his mom says.
Even a couple of hours without insulin can cause Will to go into a coma or even die. She “paws” him when she smells his blood glucose level drop too low. Will gets insulin shots at least four times a day.
Guardian Angel Service Dogs in Culpepper, Va. will train about 300 Diabetic Alert dogs. This year -- they go all over the world. And they're expensive. costing $19,000 to $25,000. Will's family is holding fundraising events to help collect the funds to pay for her.