Diabetic receives service dog to help with disease - WNEM TV 5

Diabetic receives service dog to help with disease

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A dog could be the difference between life and death for one local man.

Usually when you talk about service dogs they are helping people with a physical or mental disability, but one man received a new friend that will help him tackle a terrible disease.

"I woke up with three police officers and two EMS people holding me down," said Chris Praay, diabetic.

Praay said the last seizure he experienced almost ended his life.

As a brittle diabetic, he suffers from life-threatening seizures triggered by dangerously low blood sugar levels.

"With any kind of stress or just what kind of mood I'm in, my sugar can go up and down as it wants, so my sugar is a daily chore," Praay said.

On Monday, Praay received the gift of a new furry friend who might save his life one day.

The black lab, named Halo, is a diabetic alert dog. She's being trained to let Praay know before he starts having another seizure.

"We're gonna learn together for the next year or two years. We're gonna teach each other," Praay said.

Right now Halo is only 8 months old, and it's a two-year training process, but once she's fully trained she'll be able to alert Praay just by using her paw.

"We want them to paw to get the attention of the diabetic that way they know something is going on. Sometimes they'll get antsy, they'll start acting nervous and they'll come over and paw the diabetic and let them know," said Phil Farris, trainer.

Farris is from Virginia, but he delivered Halo to Mid-Michigan.

"The dog can actually smell in real time the fluctuation in the sugar and they're able to let the person know their sugar is off so they can do something about it," Farris said.

Along with helping him stay physically healthy, Praay said Halo will be a new companion to get him through some of the tough times living with brittle diabetes.

"She should be able to alert me when I go into my lows or my highs and just to have some peace inside, plus a great friend," Praay said.

Praay's family is fundraising to cover the cost to train his service dog.

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