Diabetic boy, 7, gets service dog to monitor blood sugar - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

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Diabetic boy, 7, gets service dog to monitor blood sugar

JJ Zupin JJ Zupin
CHANDLER, AZ (CBS5) -

A military family living in the east Valley has weathered several out-of-state moves, an overseas deployment, in vitro treatments and most recently a diabetes diagnosis for their little boy. 

The good news is now he's getting a blood sugar detector, that could save his life. 

You've heard of service animals helping with post traumatic stress disorder, epilepsy and blindness, but it also just so happens that some dogs can sense changes in blood sugar, staving off disaster.

Last month CBS 5 News introduced you to 7-year-old JJ Zupin. Less than a year after his diagnosis, the eight to 10 blood sugar tests a day, and three to six insulin shots a day have become routine him.

"He was getting up at night and sneaking water, just excessive thirst and frequent urination," his mom, Allyson Zupin, said.

JJ was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes in November. To help monitor his blood sugar, Allyson Zupin has become a human calculator.

"So that's a unit and a half that I'm going to have to give him," Allyson Zupin said, calculating how much her son would need in his next dose.

They keep a lock on the fridge, and a bell on the pantry to keep track of how much JJ is eating, and how much insulin he'll need.

If JJ's blood sugar is too high, he may suffer from seizures, and if it's too low, it can throw him into a coma.

"There's really no time that I'm not worried about him," Allyson Zupin said.

But there is hope out there. That hope comes in the form of a furry friend. Tank, a black lab, already knows JJ, in a sense.

"He has been scent-trained with JJ's saliva, highs, lows, normals," Allyson Zupin said.

Once trained, Tank will bark if JJ's blood sugar is too low, and paw and whine if it's too high.

"The dog will tell mom and dad if it's good or bad, I mean low or high and then they'll check me," JJ said.

But service dogs don't come cheap.

The Zupin family is working with an organization called Miracles of Hope to train Tank. Handing Tank over to JJ is a slow and steady process. The focus right now is basic obedient work, but in about a year and a half, Tank will be able to sniff out JJ's blood sugar levels.

If you would like to help, visit: http://www.gofundme.com/2wwdqo.

Copyright 2013 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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