CHEEKTOWAGA, N.Y. - They say a dog is a man's best friend but for some, a dog is so much more than that. The animal becomes a life saver.
That is going to be the case for four-year-old Jack Caffery...who has type one diabetes.
You might remember Jack. We met him back in April, when his family began the journey to get him a diabetic alert dog, or a DAD.
The Caffery's learned of DADs through another family, the Harpers. The Harpers also have a son named Jack with type one diabetes. Their 14-year-old Jack has had a DAD for several years now.
"She saves me," Jack Harper said. "She'll get that I'm low. She's always there."
Jack Harper's dog, named Coco, is trained to monitor his blood sugar levels and alert Jack or Jack's mom when they are low.
How can Coco do that? According to the Diabetic Alert Dogs of America, the body releases chemicals and those chemicals produce odors. A diabetic alert dog is trained on the owner's scent to know when those levels are off.
Coco does not take the place of blood sugar monitors on Jack's body but it is peace of mind for the Harpers.
"It's another set of eyes for us," Kelly Harper said. "She has been a wonderful addition to our family. She has been Jack's companion."
Four-year-old Jack Caffery also has type one diabetes and back in April, his family was working to get him a diabetic alert dog.
They made the decision to get the dog, in part, because of the success they see 14-year-old Jack have with Coco.
"Meeting Kelly [Harper] has really solidified our decision to want to go through with this process," Jill Caffery, four-year-old Jack's mom, said. "To hear that their dog Coco is picking up on Jack's lows in the middle of the night and has several times alerted them from a situation that could have potentially turned dangerous extremely fast."
Now, the Caffery's are one step closer to getting their dog. The organization they are working with, Dogworks Service Dogs in Rochester, just welcomed a new litter of puppies from which four-year-old Jack's dog will be picked.
The puppy will then be trained on Jack's scent for up to two years before it will come live permanently in the Caffery household.
Jack may only be four-years-old but he understands that this dog will be a part of his team to help him live a more confident and independent life with type one diabetes.
The diabetic alert dog is going to cost the Cafferys about $22,000. Their family is holding a benefit with food and entertainment this Saturday at the Polish Falcons of Depew to help raise funds.
Tickets are $20 and all proceeds will go to getting Jack his dog. Learn more on their Facebook page.
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