Diabetic alert dog is life-saver for one local family

Sprinkels is a diabetic alert dog that has proven to be a life saver for the Hanchon family (John Gaddy/WCIV)

By Sonya

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- A diabetic alert dog has given one local family peace of mind.

You may remember this fall when Sprinkels the puppy was first delivered to the Hanchon family. Now that the dog has become a member of the family.

Five months may not seem like a lot of time, but for the Hanchon family, life has drastically changed for the better. Their diabetic daughter can now enjoy life as a 7-year-old.

"It's really hard to believe that a dog can be so much a part of your life and still not be a human being," said Tanya Hanchon, Kate's mother. "I mean she goes with us everywhere; she is pretty amazing."

She is especially amazing at night when Kate's blood sugar can reach dangerous highs and lows in her sleep.

"She'll get out of bed and come get us or bark from bed to let us know that Kate needs our help and on more than one occasion we know that if we would have waited another two hours after check, Kate might have been unconscious," said Tanya Hanchon.

Her parents check her blood sugar levels throughout the night, but on at least one occasion Sprinkels has been a life-saver.

"I know that day had we waited several hours to check her againwe would not have our daughter here and so just knowing that we have that comfort that extra added protection changes everything," said Tanya Hanchon.

But Sprinkels is a work in progress and the family is constantly training.

"To be honest, it's hit and miss," said Tim Hanchon. "She is right more often than she is wrong. It's not perfect yet but it's something we have to stay on top of, we have to continually train and keep her involved in the processthat's how she'll get better."

And the reality is she is still a puppy, which the family has never had before.

"We are just not accustomed to what a puppy is like so some of those normal things that puppies do it's just like, 'Oh my gosh, what is she doing? Stop digging!" said Tim Hanchon.

But for this family, this dog is so much more than a pet -- she is literally a guard dog -- protecting their most precious gift.

Sprinkels can alert Kate's parents up to a mile away right now. Once she is fully trained, the dog should be able to alert up to five miles away.

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