Bella and Buttons: Diabetic alert dog helps 3-year-old girl - WNCN: News, Weather

Bella and Buttons: Diabetic alert dog helps 3-year-old girl

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Type 1 Diabetes is a lifelong and often very scary disease. A family in Farmville is coping with their daughter’s diagnosis in a very unique way. They’re getting help from their family pet.

Checking blood sugar levels is a familiar routine for 3-year-old Bella Dolde and her family. A year ago doctors diagnosed Bella with Type 1 Diabetes.

"They checked her and her blood sugar was so high that it wouldn't register on their meter so they said go straight to the emergency room,” said Kathy Dolde, Bella’s mother.

The initial diagnosis was tough on everyone. They don’t have any family history of diabetes and Bella will have to rely on an insulin pump for the rest of her life.

"I felt like I was mourning the loss of her childhood because nothing would ever be normal for her again,” said Dolde.

But a new member of the family is helping them cope. His name is Buttons and he’s a diabetic alert dog. Kathy Dolde, found Buttons through a company called “Service Dogs By Warren Retrievers” in Virginia.

"As soon as he walked on the porch with his trainer at delivery, he alerted to her immediately,” said Dolde.

Buttons is only 10-months-old. He still has a lot of training to do but he already will alert with his paw when Bella’s sugar levels are abnormal. Eventually he’ll be trained to get her a snack when her levels are low and even call 9-1-1.

"Every time he alerts, he is 100% correct and even if she's in range, he can tell if she's dropping or going high and he can do it up to 40 minutes before her meter can catch it, which is mind-blowing,” said Dolde.

Buttons isn’t cheap. He’ll cost the family around $25,000.

"It's a lot of money but I would pay 4 times as much for this dog. He has given us peace of mind that we hadn't had in almost a year before we got him,” said Dolde.

He’s more than man’s best friend, he’s one little girl’s guardian angel.

Bella and her family are still raising money to pay for buttons. Donations are doubled this month in honor of “Diabetes Awareness Month.”

If you’d like to help or for more information:

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