True
Pedigree

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."

Leah Menzies/TikTok

Leah Menzies had no idea her deceased mother was her boyfriend's kindergarten teacher.

When you start dating the love of your life, you want to share it with the people closest to you. Sadly, 18-year-old Leah Menzies couldn't do that. Her mother died when she was 7, so she would never have the chance to meet the young woman's boyfriend, Thomas McLeodd. But by a twist of fate, it turns out Thomas had already met Leah's mom when he was just 3 years old. Leah's mom was Thomas' kindergarten teacher.

The couple, who have been dating for seven months, made this realization during a visit to McCleodd's house. When Menzies went to meet his family for the first time, his mom (in true mom fashion) insisted on showing her a picture of him making a goofy face. When they brought out the picture, McLeodd recognized the face of his teacher as that of his girlfriend's mother.

Menzies posted about the realization moment on TikTok. "Me thinking my mum (who died when I was 7) will never meet my future boyfriend," she wrote on the video. The video shows her and McLeodd together, then flashes to the kindergarten class picture.

“He opens this album and then suddenly, he’s like, ‘Oh my God. Oh my God — over and over again,” Menzies told TODAY. “I couldn’t figure out why he was being so dramatic.”

Obviously, Menzies is taking great comfort in knowing that even though her mother is no longer here, they can still maintain a connection. I know how important it was for me to have my mom accept my partner, and there would definitely be something missing if she wasn't here to share in my joy. It's also really incredible to know that Menzies' mother had a hand in making McLeodd the person he is today, even if it was only a small part.

@speccylee

Found out through this photo in his photo album. A moment straight out of a movie 🥲

♬ iris - 🫶

“It’s incredible that that she knew him," Menzies said. "What gets me is that she was standing with my future boyfriend and she had no idea.”

Since he was only 3, McLeodd has no actual memory of Menzies' mother. But his own mother remembers her as “kind and really gentle.”

The TikTok has understandably gone viral and the comments are so sweet and positive.

"No the chills I got omggg."

"This is the cutest thing I have watched."

"It’s as if she remembered some significance about him and sent him to you. Love fate 😍✨"

In the caption of the video, she said that discovering the connection between her boyfriend and her mom was "straight out of a movie." And if you're into romantic comedies, you're definitely nodding along right now.

Menzies and McLeodd made a follow-up TikTok to address everyone's positive response to their initial video and it's just as sweet. The young couple sits together and addresses some of the questions they noticed pop up. People were confused that they kept saying McLeodd was in kindergarten but only 3 years old when he was in Menzies' mother's class. The couple is Australian and Menzies explained that it's the equivalent of American preschool.

They also clarified that although they went to high school together and kind of knew of the other's existence, they didn't really get to know each other until they started dating seven months ago. So no, they truly had no idea that her mother was his teacher. Menzies revealed that she "didn't actually know that my mum taught at kindergarten."

"I just knew she was a teacher," she explained.

She made him act out his reaction to seeing the photo, saying he was "speechless," and when she looked at the photo she started crying. McLeodd recognized her mother because of the pictures Menzies keeps in her room. Cue the "awws," because this is so cute, I'm kvelling.

A simple solution for all ages, really.

School should feel like a safe space. But after the tragic news of yet another mass shooting, many children are scared to death. As a parent or a teacher, it can be an arduous task helping young minds to unpack such unthinkable monstrosities. Especially when, in all honesty, the adults are also terrified.

Katelyn Campbell, a clinical psychologist in South Carolina, worked with elementary school children in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook shooting. She recently shared a simple idea that helped then, in hopes that it might help now.

The psychologist tweeted, “We had our kids draw pictures of scenery that made them feel calm—we then hung them up around the school—to make the ‘other kids who were scared’ have something calm to look at.”



“Kids, like adults, want to feel helpful when they feel helpless,” she continued, saying that drawing gave them something useful to do.

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