Service dogs are total heroes, and a black lab named Jedi reminds us why.

A black lab named Jedi tends to know what's happening before anyone else.

Like the night he saved his boy, Luke Nuttall.

All images via Dorrie Nuttall, used with permission.


One night in March 2016, 7-year-old Luke was sound asleep. Jedi was able to determine that Luke's blood sugar was dropping to dangerously low levels, even though his monitor said otherwise at the time. Jedi jumped on Luke's mom, Dorrie, to wake her up and get her attention. Sure enough, he was right.

It may have saved Luke's life.

As a diabetic alert dog, Jedi can smell changes in the body. It basically makes him one part playful pup and one part superhero.

From the moment Luke was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes as a 2-year-old, his family knew they were diving face-first into a lifelong challenge. Type 1 diabetes is a complicated disease and can be emotionally, physically, and socially exhausting. For those it affects, it can become part of every second of every day.

Upon Luke's diagnosis, the Nuttall family knew nothing about Type 1 diabetes or that service dogs could help ease some of the burden. When they learned more about it, they decided to give an 11-week-old black lab named Jedi a shot.

They self-trained Jedi with the help of professionals. Ever since, Luke and Jedi have been quite the pair.

"Jedi can tell us when Luke's blood sugar levels go low, dropping around 75, right around there," said Luke's mom, Dorrie. "He gives visual clues. He will bow if Luke is low and wave if Luke is going high on his levels."

Jedi's always with Luke when there's a problem. He helps alleviate the monotony of diabetes, adding a furry, fun aspect to it. Perhaps most importantly, he makes Luke and his family laugh.

A lot of people know about Type 2 diabetes, but there is less awareness of Type 1.

We don't talk about it enough, and we should: Every day, about 80 Americans are diagnosed with it, but it goes undetected in many. That can be fatal.

The warning signs can be subtle and can seem to point to a different problem if people don't know what to look for. Before Luke was diagnosed, his mom thought he had strep throat. Luke was a healthy 2-year-old — why would she think diabetes? But it turns out it's common to have flu symptoms, frequent urination, headaches, and blurry vision as part of it. That's why education, which can help lead to early detection, is key.

"Type 1 diabetes is so misunderstood and people don’t really seem to care much about it," Dorrie said. General attitudes around diabetes can make it seem like it's something you've done to yourself, or that you deserved it. That's not the case at all.

Dorrie emphasized the need to educate our younger generations to help shift this way of thinking. "Kids are often better at this then adults since it is something new for them and the correct information becomes their truth," she wrote on Facebook. "In contrast we often have to work harder to try to educate adults because they have to also 'unlearn' things that are not accurate."

That's exactly why Dorrie decided to launch the Facebook page "Saving Luke" to spread awareness about Type 1 diabetes by sharing her family's journey.

"I hope through a story about a boy and his dog that people are starting to look at it different."

With a growing community of 75,000 members, I'd say they're breaking through.

"One message I get all the time on the page is from people who see Luke going through it and how it reminds them that they're not alone," said Dorrie.

"Luke and Jedi" is a documentary coming out soon that follows the journey of the inseparable pair as they fight Type 1 diabetes together.

Service dogs like Jedi come in all shapes and sizes and are trained to work on a host of medical and health conditions.

Not only are these animals amazing, but they can help draw awareness to otherwise overlooked conditions. That's what the Nuttall family is striving to do with Type 1 diabetes.

This boy, his dog, and their family might just be what's needed to make that happen.

As Lorrie put it, "If I can spread awareness and it helps, then I feel like I’ve made a difference. When you have a child diagnosed with something, it’s easy to feel helpless. I’m not a scientist, I can’t find a cure, but this is how I feel like I am making a contribution."

Most Shared
True
Pedigree


Climate change is happening because the earth is warming at an accelerated rate, a significant portion of that acceleration is due to human activity, and not taking measures to mitigate it will have disastrous consequences for life as we know it.

In other words: Earth is heating up, it's kinda our fault, and if we don't fix it, we're screwed.

This is the consensus of the vast majority of the world's scientists who study such things for a living. Case closed. End of story.

How do we know this to be true? Because pretty much every reputable scientific organization on the planet has examined and endorsed these conclusions. Thousands of climate studies have been done, and multiple peer-reviewed studies have been done on those studies, showing that somewhere between 84 and 97 percent of active climate science experts support these conclusions. In fact, the majority of those studies put the consensus well above 90%.

Keep Reading Show less
Nature

As a child, Dr. Sangeeta Bhatia's parents didn't ask her what she wanted to be when she grew up. Instead, her father would ask, "Are you going to be a doctor? Are you going to be an engineer? Or are you going to be an entrepreneur?"

Little did he know that she would successfully become all three: an award-winning biomedical and mechanical engineer who performs cutting-edge medical research and has started multiple companies.

Bhatia holds an M.D. from Harvard University, an M.S. in mechanical engineering from MIT, and a PhD in biomedical engineering from MIT. Bhatia, a Wilson professor of engineering at MIT, is currently serving as director of the Marble Center for Cancer Nanomedicine, where she's working on nanotechnology targeting enzymes in cancer cells. This would allow cancer screenings to be done with a simple urine test.

Bhatia owes much of her impressive career to her family. Her parents were refugees who met in graduate school in India; in fact, she says her mom was the first woman to earn an MBA in the country. The couple immigrated to the U.S. in the 1960s, started a family, and worked hard to give their two daughters the best opportunities.

"They made enormous sacrifices to pick a town with great public schools and really push us to excel the whole way," Bhatia says. "They really believed in us, but they expected excellence. The story I like to tell about my dad is like, if you brought home a 96 on a math test, the response would be, 'What'd you get wrong?'"

Keep Reading Show less
Packard Foundation
True

I live in a family with various food intolerances. Thankfully, none of them are super serious, but we are familiar with the challenges of finding alternatives to certain foods, constantly checking labels, and asking restaurants about their ingredients.

In our family, if someone accidentally eats something they shouldn't, it's mainly a bit of inconvenient discomfort. For those with truly life-threatening food allergies, the stakes are much higher.

I can't imagine the ongoing stress of deadly allergy, especially for parents trying to keep their little ones safe.

Keep Reading Show less
popular
Amy Johnson

The first day of school can be both exciting and scary at the same time — especially if it's your first day ever, as was the case for a nervous four-year-old in Wisconsin. But with a little help from a kind bus driver, he was able to get over his fear.

Axel was "super excited" waiting for the bus in Augusta with his mom, Amy Johnson, until it came time to actually get on.

"He was all smiles when he saw me around the corner and I started to slow down and that's when you could see his face start to change," his bus driver, Isabel "Izzy" Lane, told WEAU.

The scared boy wouldn't get on the bus without help from his mom, so she picked him up and carried him aboard, trying to give him a pep talk.

"He started to cling to me and I told him, 'Buddy, you got this and will have so much fun!'" Johnson told Fox 7.

Keep Reading Show less
Most Shared