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Diabetic Alert Dog helps Elkhart teen cope with type 1 diabetes

ELKHART, Ind. -- Meet Alana Payne and her dog Mylez. 

Mylez has been a part of the family for over two years. 

But there’s more to their connection.

Last year, Payne's life changed when her school nurse called her mom, Christina McLachlan.

“Her blood sugar was over 700,” McLachlan said.  “A normal blood sugar should be between 80 and 120 so she was very, very high. Her blood was basically turning into acid.”

Payne was rushed to Elkhart General Hospital to have tests done. A week later, she was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.

Having diabetes has impacted Payne on a daily basis. Things as simple as eating can sometimes be a challenge.

“Blood sugar checks every time she eats. Blood sugar checks when she exercises.  It’s not just getting in the car going anywhere anymore,” said McLachlan.

And that’s where Mylez helps. Payne is getting support from her pet. He’s now a trained Diabetic Alert Dog.

“He’s actually trained to alert to Alana when her blood sugars are getting low so anything at 80 and below he’ll alert to her and he does that with a paw, he will paw at her.”

McLachlan has been a dog trainer for over 20 years and she currently trains dogs at Michiana Service Dogs. 

A Diabetic Alert Dog normally costs $20,000 but at Michiana Service Dogs they are able to cut that price in half by training rescue dogs and getting adult dogs to shorten the training time.

During six months of training, the dogs are given saliva samples to smell. They can actually sniff out high and low blood sugar levels.

“It’s a blessing to have him and know that he’s watching out for her,” said McLachlan.  

Mylez basically goes everywhere with Payne: the grocery store, the library and even restaurants. Their bond has never been stronger.

“He’s not just a dog to me anymore; he’s basically my hero because it has made an impact on my life to have him,” Payne said. “He used to be just a normal pet but now I can count on him.”

To follow Payne and Mylez and their adventures, visit their Facebook page.

If you are interested in finding out more about Diabetic Alert Dogs, check out Michiana Service Dogs official website and Facebook page.  

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