Athens man awaits his diabetic alert dog and gets pictures of her at just the right time

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ATHENS, Ala. (WHNT) - An Athens family is hoping for a big turnout at their latest fundraiser this weekend to bring in the funds for a diabetic alert dog.

It follows an emotional roller coaster that TJ Tucker and his mother went through last week when TJ suffered a diabetic attack.

It ended up being a week of a very low point and a very high point in TJ's journey with type one diabetes.

"He woke up and his blood sugar was already over 200. So he wasn't aware that it was in the 200s," said Amy Crowden, recalling her son's latest bout with diabetes.  TJ cannot feel the symptoms of his blood sugar levels being off.

Amy was terrified for her son TJ.

He ended up in the hospital intensive care unit after trying to get his blood sugar under control.

"He immediately started taking insulin and drinking water," said Amy.  "From that point on it just went up. It didn't go down no matter how much insulin he took. It continued to rise."

She said doctors told him he was in Diabetic Ketoacidosis, or DKA.

"It's when your body basically attacks itself," said Amy.  "It will send you into a coma if it's not taken care of very fast and it can cause death."

TJ is currently waiting on the arrival of a diabetic alert dog he named Sweetie.

She's like Maggie, who belongs to TJ's friend and fellow type one diabetic, Julia.

Maggie is trained to detect and alert Julia when her blood sugar is off.

"If she (Sweetie) would've been in the picture at the time he would've been awoken through the night and alerted," Amy insisted.

TJ raised enough money to get a dog that--like Maggie--is being trained by Warren Retrievers in Virginia.

He even named his dog Sweetie but still had never seen her.

Coincidentally, just moments before Amy was to see her son in ICU, she received an email on her phone.

"The pictures popped up and I still had them on my phone as I ran into the ICU unit and I said look and he had the biggest smile on his face," she recalled.

There were three pictures of Sweetie.

Sweetie is now expected to arrive in Athens on May 24th to give TJ love, comfort, and security from a diabetic attack he can't detect himself.

TJ is home from the hospital and getting ready for the next event to raise money towards the $25,000 commitment to Warren Retrievers.

TJ and his family will hold a car wash and bake sale on April 4th at Grove Baptist Church on County Line Road.

Click here for more details.

Click here for WHNT NEWS 19's first story about TJ.

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