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Family wants special K-9 to help son's diabetes

Posted at 8:20 PM, Feb 19, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-19 20:20:41-05

James Judkins, 2, may look like your typical toddler, but there's nothing ordinary about his health. He’s been diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes.

His parents recently learned of his condition about a month ago when he was rushed to the hospital.

“He was breathing heavy, he was vomiting, he [was] chugging 60 ounces of water a day,” said his mother, Lisa Judkins. “We were told by a nurse that we were hours away from losing him.”

“We were scared, we were just trying to figure out what was going on,” said John Judkins, his father.

Dr. Alicia Lowes, a pediatric endocrinologist at Akron Children’s Hospital, explained that Type 1 diabetes can be particularly hard to diagnose in toddlers.

“Unfortunately sometimes the symptoms are misdiagnosed. In toddlers specifically, they’re not able to verbalize how they feel and so many times it’s the parents picking up on those ques.”

That's why James' parents are trying to be more proactive about his future care.

After researching many solutions, they found out there are special K-9s specifically trained to alert parents about inconsistencies in their child's blood sugar levels and they've recently requested to get one. 

“The studies that are available show that patients that have diabetes alert dogs are happier overall, they are in some ways a pet, but primarily a service dog and they are very expensive” Lowes said.

Which is why the family is asking for help and support through their special donation page.

“The average cost of a diabetic alert service dog is $15,000,” Lisa said. “So we’re kind of walking by faith that we’ll be able to raise the funds and bring him home.”

She said having the dog in their home will be just the kind of help they’ll need.

“We’re calling this dog his little protector. And so I’m really looking forward to have another set of eyes, well another nose I should say, on him. It’ll be a peace of mind for sure."

The non-profit organization where the dog will come from is located in Las Vegas. It will be hand delivered to the family once it’s fully trained.