The parents of an 8-year-old boy with diabetes are fighting to keep their son’s service dog in the family.
Jonah Mullins was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 2011, when he was 4 years old. A year after his diagnosis, the family had a scare: Despite setting alarm clocks at intervals throughout the night to check Jonah’s blood sugar, which they’d been warned could experience potentially fatal spikes or crashes at any time, one night the alarm didn’t go off. “My wife, she woke up,” Jonah’s dad, Jim Mullins, says in a YouTube video about his son’s journey. “I guess it’s a mother’s intuition.”
The Mullins family with Luckie, 8-year-old Jonah’s diabetic alert dog. (Photo: Lowe’s)
By the time Jonah’s mom, Rebecca, got to her son, his blood sugar had dropped to 30 — low enough to induce a diabetic coma. “I knew then that we needed some help,” Rebecca said. Her research turned up the idea of a diabetic service dog who could detect fluctuations in blood sugar and alert the family if Jonah’s get too high or too low.
Despite the hefty price tag — $25,000 — the Mullins were able to raise the funds to put a down payment on Luckie, a golden retriever service dog, and pay for training services. Luckie joined the family in September 2012. The Mullins received financial help from the Employee Relief Fund from home improvement store Lowe’s, where Jim is an employee, but the family needed to raise the rest of the money — approximately $17,000 — themselves. Though they’ve raised significant funds through a website for donations, the Mullins still owe $5,000.
Luckie, a service golden retriever, can detect fluctuations in Jonah’s blood sugar. (Photo: Lowe’s)
“Luckie quickly became part of the family and started doing her job that day,” Rebecca writes on the site of the moment Jonah met Luckie. Today, Jonah and his family can sleep through the night, confident that Luckie will alert them should Jonah’s blood sugar levels become dangerous. Luckie can even sense danger if Jonah is at school while the dog is at home, according to WCYB.
Jonah takes a walk with his service dog, Luckie. (Photo: Lowe’s)
Today, the Mullins are six months behind on their final payment for Luckie. Service Dogs by Warren Retrievers, the service dog company that helped the Mullins find the golden retriever, has extended its deadline to allow the family time to raise the last $5,000. The Mullins are hoping donations on their fundraising site will allow their little boy to keep his potentially life-saving dog.
Rebecca says she knows $25,000 is a lot to pay for a dog, but the cost could never have stopped her. “You can’t put a price tag on your child’s life,” she told WCYB. “I know it sounds silly, but how do you thank a dog for saving your child’s life?”
(Top photo: Lowe’s)