Trained dog keeping watchful eye over Holly Pond boy - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Diabetic alert dog to keep watchful eye over Holly Pond boy

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Hawk, a diabetic alert dog, will help monitor the blood sugar levels of 10-year-old Xander Bonelli of Holly Pond. (abc3340.com) Hawk, a diabetic alert dog, will help monitor the blood sugar levels of 10-year-old Xander Bonelli of Holly Pond. (abc3340.com)
Xander Bonelli has a new best friend and diabetic alert dog to help him monitor his blood sugar levels. (abc3340.com) Xander Bonelli has a new best friend and diabetic alert dog to help him monitor his blood sugar levels. (abc3340.com)

Xander Bonelli, 10, has a new friend in his life; a dog named 'Hawk.' 

"He helps me to where I don't go too low or too high," said Bonelli, of Holly Pond. "He's a furry friend that can sleep with me." 

The 9 month old pup is specially trained to detect sudden highs and lows in Xander's blood sugar.  Xander was diagnosed with Type I diabetes when he was four. The family sought a dog like Hawk to help monitor Xander.  Before that could happen, the family would have to pay a $20,000.00 price tag. 

Luckily, they were able to get help.  Half of the money came from an organization called Miracles of Hope.  They help families affected by diabetes; offering resources and help in securing a diabetic assistance dog.   The rest of the money came from generous donors in the community. 

"I've been very appreciative to all of the people who have helped in getting us to this point," said Melissa Powe, Xander's mother. 

Since October, Hawk has undergone intense training geared toward monitoring Xander. Cotton balls carrying Xander's saliva were sent to the dog's trainer we well. 

"First, he went through obedience training. Then, he went through a familiarizing period where he got familiar with different sounds, different situations with large numbers of people," said Powe. 

Now with his new family, Hawk has been able to alert Powe to changes in Xander's blood sugar.  For the first time in 6 years, Powe is finally able to get a good night's sleep. 

"I still stay up late and do my midnight check but when I do get to go to sleep it's a deeper sleep," explained Powe. 

Motivated to help other families, Powe is paying it forward by working with the organization that helped get Hawk to Holly Pond. 

"We want other parents to have the same sense of peace and security that I have," she said.  

 

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