Diabetes Dog is Newest Student in Second Grade

By: Meagan O'Halloran Email
By: Meagan O'Halloran Email

This week we meet a dog who is watching over a seven-year-old girl with Type One Juvenile Diabetes. It was an exciting day for the Richard family.
Their dog Jac was welcomed home after fourteen months of extensive training in Tulsa, Oklahoma. There, he was learning how to recognize extreme changes in Felisse Richard's blood sugar levels.
Jac goes everywhere with Felisse and today was no different. It was Jac's first day at school..

It's 7:30 A.M. and Shelly Richard is getting her three kids ready for school. Yes, three. There's six year old Anna Claire, seven year old Felisse and two year old Jac.
After breakfast, it's time to check Felisse's blood sugar levels.
Because Jac hasn't sniffed out anything unusual, sure enough, Felisse's levels are normal.
Having Jac around has literally been a saving grace. No one understands that like Felisse’s dad, Jim Richard.
"There are many sleepless nights when you're just on edge, wondering if she's high or low. You want to go check her blood sugar every fifteen minutes. Jac will again, give us a little peace of mind so we can sleep a little easier. Knowing there's another set of eyes and a nose, a great nose."
For his diabetes training, Jac memorized the scent from Felisse's clothing in instances where she had both high and low blood sugar levels.
Jim hollers out "Get dressed Jac" just like he does with his two daughters.
The lunches are packed, they've brushed their teeth, and it's off to school.
Shelley Richard has seen quite the difference in her daughter since Jac’s been home.
"The self confidence you can see with her walking with Jac, you can't knock her down right now."
Jac is pretty excited about his first day and so is the rest of the class at South Walton Montessori Academy.
The dog was an honorary student at school today.
Ms. Catherine Beall is the lead teacher in the elementary class that Felisse and and Anna Claire Richard attend.
Now she’s adding another Richard to the roster.
Jac Richard.
Even though the girls are studying their times tables, Jac sits under the tables and makes himself right at home.
"It's very exciting; all the kids are really excited. We've done a lot of preparation talking about how he is a working dog, just like all our students are workers, he's a worker too."
Jac is hard at work taking care of Felisse, and has given the saying "mans best friend a whole new meaning."
Feelise was diagnosed with Type One Juvenile Diabetes at age three.
The Richards’ are hoping to get the word out on this commonly undiagnosed disease.
It's estimated that 23.6 million people are living with diabetes, that's about 7.8 percent of the population.


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