Diabetic Alert Dog: A Life-Saving Best Friend For A Reno Boy

It's a routine most of us would dread. But sticking his finger, drawing a drop of blood testing it, is what's keeping Gage Bunsness healthy and safe.

Gage has Type one diabetes. His blood sugar goes through wild swings and those highs and lows hold real danger.

"He could be unconscious," says his mother Kimberly. "He could go into a diabetic coma. So, that's the real scare."

It's hard to keep an active 10 year old diabetic's blood sugar steady and it's hard to be a normal 10 year old boy when you're checking that blood sugar 12 times a day.

"It's definitely like having your life interrupted," says his mother. "He could be playing with his friends and then he';ll come in to the house saying 'Mom, I don't feel good. I feel funny."

"So, he tests your blood sugar. "OK, Gage you need to have a juice now. You have to stop playing for 15 minutes. It's a bummer."

The solution has curly hair, a wet nose and walks on four legs.

Indy...that's for Indiana Jones...is a young Aussiedoodle, an Australian Shepherd-Poodle cross.

He's still a pup in every way, but after training he will be a diabetic alert dog, able to sense those blood sugar highs and lows and let Gage know, before things get serious, nudging or barking, even summoning help if Gage is unconscious.

"Like a little guardian angel, says Kimberly Bunsness.

He will also be trained to get things by name.

"Like we may say 'Indy, go get insulin and he'll be trained to get insulin.'"

A dog like Indy can change the life of a diabetic, but as Kimberly discovered they aren't easy to come by in Nevada.

Organizations elsewhere that have them don't accept applications from other states and the $20-thousand dollar price isn't covered by health insurance. So, they bought Indy as a pup and he will be working with a trainer.

It's still going to be expensive so they are holding a fundraiser this weekend to help cover the cost, but she's also setting up a non-profit foundation so that other Nevada families don't have to do the same.

Kimberly and friends will be setting up an old[fashioned lemonade stand at the used clothing store Clothes Mentor, holding a raffle for a $500 shopping spree there and at Plato's Closet next door. They'll also be taking donations of clothing with all proceeds going to the cause.

Meanwhile across town, a boy will be playing with his new dog.

The life saving bond that Gage and Indy are already forming could be the model for others.

"You can't put a price tag on something that's going to save your son's life."

Lemonade Stand and fundraiser: Saturday August 4, 11am to 5 pm at Clothes Mentor, 1509 South Virginia.

More information at www.gofundme.com search: 4 paws and gage


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