JOHNSON CITY, TN (WJHL) — Last Fall, we introduced you to a Tri-Cities girl who was living with Type-One Diabetes. The disease is tough, and can be difficult to regulate.
Lily Ware has lived with Type-One Diabetes for three years. She has an insulin pump, and is very careful to program her pump according to what she eats.
Her parents wanted an extra safeguard in place as she gets older and more independent, and the idea of a service dog came about to help her navigate through the literal highs and lows of the disease.
After months of fundraising, praying, and training, Lily’s life was about to change. A hug from Daisy when they first met was the beginning of a potentially life-saving partnership between a girl and her dog.
“I was like, ‘You’re so cute! I’ve been waiting for you forever. You’re as perfect as I imagined,” she exclaimed.
Daisy is a Diabetic Alert Dog. Her highly-trained nose can sense the changes in Lily’s blood sugar, which can happen often and without warning, and put Lily’s life in danger.
Lily says, “I’ll be a little bit dizzy, but she keeps alerting. We’re like, ‘Not right now, not right now, I’m good.’ But, then I drop like that <snaps> and she was right the whole time.”
Daisy has even alerted on Lily before those changes happen.
“If I’m getting ready to spike up, she senses that. She senses a different smell in the air,” Lily says.
And that’s exactly what happened during our interview. Daisy started alerting on Lily, and Lily confirmed her sugar was high.
After an accurate alert, Daisy always gets a treat, and verbal praise. But, she remains watchful no matter where they are.
“So, if we’re in a big crowd, she can still sense it in the air out of everybody,” says Lily.
Even on the softball field.
Daisy stays close during games and practices, keeping her eye, and nose, on Lily. At a practice we attended, we saw Daisy immediately look to Lily, who was far away. Once Lily was close, Daisy alerted.
There aren’t many Diabetic Alert Dogs around, but if you’re at Lily’s softball game, you’ll see two, and they’re on the same team.
The Crusaders Fastpitch softball team has not one, but two players who have Diabetic Alert Dogs, and they are with the girls constantly.
Lauren Baker, also a ten-year old with Type One Diabetes has Yeti to help keep track of her blood sugar and keep her safe.
Daisy and Yeti sit on the sidelines and watch their respective loved ones while they practice and play.
The other Crusaders say they have learned so much about Diabetes from Lily and Lauren, and when asked if they treated the two differently…
“NO!” they said, “There’s no reason to treat anyone different because they have Diabetes.”
Everywhere she goes, Daisy gets attention.
“It’s a lot of stares. A lot of ‘Aww, that’s a cute dog, I like your dog,” Lily says. “You get some people who stare like, ‘Why is this dog in here? She should not be in here.'”
But, as a service dog, Daisy can accompany Lily into places where dogs aren’t normally welcome. Most of the time, you won’t see her. She is tucked out of the way, and sits patiently beside Lily. But, her nose is always working.
With her calm demeanor and warm eyes, Lily says everyone wants to pet her. But when her vest is on, she is not to be touched.
Lily says, “You have those people who talk to her, and want to love on her (to which you say) ‘Sorry, she’s working.'”
Which can be difficult for a 10 year-old to do. But, with Daisy’s help. Lily is determined to not only survive with Diabetes, she is going to thrive.
“It’s been different, but it’s been amazing,” Lily says. “(She’s my) partner in crime.”
For more information on Daisy’s training, go to http://www.heartlanddads.com/ | To get up to speed on Type 1 Diabetes, visit http://www.jdrf.org/