Aiden Heath has been collecting pennies since he was 4-years-old in the hopes to save enough to get a service alert dog. That’s because the boy, now 8, has type 1 diabetes. After years of penny pinching his allowance and money he got for birthdays and holidays and the community, Aiden and his family hoped to have the few thousand dollars needed for a deposit on the service dog.
Aiden collected his coins in a little red wagon he called “Brinks” and his diligence and determination finally paid off, with a little help from strangers.
In April 2016, Aiden had enough for the deposit but was around $9000 short from his goal of $15,000. But when media coverage of his efforts spread, there was an outpouring of support and he quickly raised all the money needed to get a dog!
Aiden and his mom, Jenni, selected Angel, a chocolate Labrador Retriever from Diabetes Dogs of America and Aiden followed Angel’s training online for the past few months. Angel arrived from Nevada to the Heath’s home in Vermont this past week and Aiden finally got to meet the dog he has been dreaming about for so long.
“Aiden looked at me and said, ‘This is a dream,'” Jenni said of the moment her son and Angel met.
The young dog is trained to signal Aiden and his family if his blood sugar drops. Due to their sensitive noses, dogs can sense a blood sugar drop 20 to 30 minutes before a device, Jenni told ABC News.
Angel will not only help Aiden, but Jenni as well, who doesn’t sleep much at night because she needs to check Aiden’s blood sugar two to four times a night to make sure he is all right.
“Aiden is over the moon,” Jenni Heath told ABC News. “He was on pins and needles waiting for her.” Aiden is now learning the commands and signals his new friend knows. Angel will soon be introduced to Aiden’s classmates and teachers too.
“We have been so amazed by the outpouring of support,” Jenni added. “He is feeling the love. … There are no words.”
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