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Diabetic Alert Dog helps New Paris family with Type 1 Diabetes

Living with Type 1 Diabetes is challenging, especially if you are diagnosed at a young age. But one New Paris family is making it look easy with the help of a furry friend.

Kaeclin Shepard was going into first grade when she was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes.
 
“She was very thirsty all the time, she couldn’t make it through a little league game without having to go to the bathroom several times,” Kaeclin's mom Kari said.
 
The diagnosis turned the Shepard family's world upside down.

“It was very overwhelming at first. A lot of information, a lot of education, a whole new lifestyle. And then finding out that there is no cure, was very hard for us right at first,” Kari said.
 
New habits that would be tough for any six-year-old to adjust to.

“I usually have to wake up before 8 because I have to eat breakfast, and I have to test my blood sugar a lot. And do insulin,” Kaeclin said.
 
But Kaeclin did it. And just about a year ago, the Sheparsd found a way to make their daughter's life a little easier.

“She just came to help me with my blood sugar and diabetes,” Kaeclin said.
 
They adopted Charli. She is Kaeclin's Diabetic Alert Dog.

“Charli puts her nose on my hand and moves it up and down, and that’s how I know I’m dangerously high or low. Then I have to test my blood sugar to see if she was right. She usually is,” Kaeclin said.
 
She's a friend to Kaeclin, and an extra sense of security for her parents.

"She can be with her anywhere she goes, even if we’re not there we have an extra set of eyes and a very smart nose that’s looking over her,” Kari said.
 
Kaeclin wears a Central Glucose Monitor at all times to track her blood sugars, but it's still not as fast as Charli.  
 
“If she’s rapidly rising or going down, there is a large delay with that. Charli’s nose can detect her blood sugars 20 minutes before that alarm ever goes off on the CGM," Kari said.
 
Charli's nose is more sensitive to Kaelin's highs and lows than Kaeclin is. 

“To understand that it’s life or death. I mean that’s the toughest thing, is your child has something that you can’t always control," Kaeclin's dad Tony Shepard said. 
 
Today, the Shepards work hard to help other familes cope with this same reality through a support group. 

“One thing I would tell them is it’s a life change, it’s an adjustment, it is manageable," Kari said.
 
A daily struggle Charli now makes a little less complicated. 

“You can’t always protect them, but you try to put as many things in place, that you can protect them,” Tony said.
 
Charli is a protector, friend and a family member the Shepards' couldn't imagine living without. 

 
 

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