Kiwanis training puppies to help diabetic kids

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO/KJCT)-- Service dogs can be trained to alert a diabetic before they go into low blood sugar shock.

The Kiwanis Club of Grand Junction is helping those affected by the disease. They hosted an event Wednesday night at Boston's Pizza in Grand Junction to raise money for new puppies.

Ten percent of food bills were donated to Kiwanis International. The money will go directly into buying more puppies for children with diabetes.

These dogs can sense if a child's blood sugar level is going low and will alert them and their parents.

“It is so impactful to see moms say to us 'this changed my life, I can sleep at night',” said project manager with Kiwanis alert service dogs Rita Crumpton.

Kiwanis International matches kids and families on the Western Slope with an alert service dog for a diabetic child at no cost to the family.

"If they had to buy a dog already trained, it can be anywhere from $10,000 to $25,000 and we just give them this,” said Crumpton.

Our bodies give off a certain scent through breath and sweat, so when a diabetics sugar level is in trouble, these dogs are trained to alert owners.

For Tracy Miller and her 13-year-old son Tanner, the dog has made a huge difference in their lives.

"She can pick it up before sensors can even pick it up, and before any kind of behavioral things can happen during waking hours but during night time it's more critical,” said Tracy Miller.

It is possible for a diabetic to have a sugar level crash, and if untreated they could have seizures, brain damage or even die.

"There are not infallible and neither is a dog but between parents, himself, his electronics and the dogs' help, maybe we can help keep disaster from happening,” said Miller.

Since having Sophie along with electronic monitors and glucose sensors has allowed mom to sleep a little easier.

“He is pretty good at managing his blood sugar when he is awake but when he is sleeping it's more dangerous, I don't know where he's at, he doesn't know where he is at,” said Miller.

Training takes around two years and Kiwanis has just started this service recently. They've only graduated one dog so far but have two already in practice.

Grand Junction veterinarians have donated wellness care for all the dogs for up to two years and Chow Down pet supplies have donated all sorts of supplies from food bowls to food and leashes.

You can donate or look for more information about adopting at

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