Deanne Scottt and her son, Ashlee Roberson,17, with his diabetic alert service dog, Kai.
Deanne Scottt and her son, Ashlee Roberson,17, with his diabetic alert service dog, Kai. Alistair Brightman

Pup will learn to smell Ashlee's blood sugar level 100m away

ASHLEE Roberson and eight-week-old groodle Kai only met a few days ago, but their friendship is already blossoming.

At 17-years-old, Ashlee has Down syndrome, autism and type 1 diabetes.

Kai is a diabetic alert dog and if everything goes to plan, he will soon be able to smell whether Ashlee's blood sugar is too low or too high.

Paws for Diabetics director of training Sharon Scott said Kai would ultimately be able to tell how Ashlee is going from more than 100m away.

"He would then alert someone by either putting a paw on a person's leg, or by bringing over a glucose wallet," she said.

"Ashlee and Kai don't even have to be in the same room for Kai to know that something is wrong.

"At six months, Kai should be about 50% reliable, and by 12 months, he should be responding correctly all the time."

 

Kai at eight-weeks-old.
Kai at eight-weeks-old. Alistair Brightman



Ashlee's mum Deanne Scott has been given much of the responsibility in training Kai.

"Kai has been going in and out of Ashlee's room to see how he is going," she said.

"They are warming up to each other."

Sharon said that despite how cute Kai may look, people are reminded to not pat him in public.

"He needs to stay focused and get on with his training," she said.

"At the moment, he'll be wearing a coat with an L for Learners on it.

"Ashlee will be able to take him everywhere."

Hervey Bay Disability Association donated the $5000 to make the purchase of Kai a reality.

Ashlee will soon be graduating from Hervey Bay Special School.

Aside from helping Ashlee's physical health, Kai will be there for peace of mind and support.

"It will help in Ashlee's confidence and independence," Sharon said.

"Deanne will be able to get some sleep during the night, as Kai will wake her up if something is wrong.

"And of course, there's the benefit of a friendship between a kid and a dog."

Kai's future behaviour isn't certain, but he has already shown all the signs of becoming a successful service dog.
 



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