Niagara Gazette


January 16, 2014

DELUCA: Pup can help Jack


Niagara Gazette —

A slender, loving 10-year-old with short dark hair and soulful eyes, he was cautious of me at first, but warmed up when I started singing the only kid’s song I think of, “Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego.”  

While he snacked and watched his favorite cartoon on a kid’s tablet, Nicole told me about Lucy.

The challenges Jack and his family have been facing were amped up considerably last summer, when Jack was diagnosed with Type 1 juvenile diabetes.

Nicole remembers sobbing in the hospital when she heard the news. Who wouldn’t be tempted at that point to look skyward and shout, “Are you kidding me? Leave my kid alone!” But, peace with destiny has been made, Nicole says. “The last eight months we have been relying on something else to help us get through this,” she told me, pointing up toward where many imagine divinity to be.

These days, every bite of food Jack takes has to be monitored. He gets insulin shots many times a day to balance his blood sugar. The night before, his parents were up for hours watching Jack as he slept, because his blood sugar was too low, and that’s a situation Nicole says can kill children as they sleep.  

Because Jack cannot speak he will never be able to let them know when he’s feeling dangerous symptoms of his diabetes. But there is someone who can help. Her name is Lucy.

Lucy is a diabetic alert dog. She’s a 3-month-old yellow lab puppy who is already in training in Texas, sniffing the samples of Jack’s saliva as she learns the difference between high and low insulin levels. Lucy could save Jack’s life one day. But, she is very expensive. The family needs to come up with $18,000 by July. And they are already taxed by the extra costs of caring for Jack.

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