Family awaits diabetic alert dog for security, relief, comfort and kisses

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ATHENS, Ala. (WHNT) – There’s a family in Athens that lives day to day hoping to be spared tragedy. They live in the world of diabetes.

TJ Tucker is a type one diabetic who cannot feel the dangerous signs of when his blood sugar level is off. But there is good news to share.

The family is now waiting for a four-legged friend who will bring comfort, security, and kisses on command. Her name is Sweetie.

“I check my sugar 4 or 5 times a day,” said Tucker.

He’s just like Julia Wildman of Birmingham, who sits across the room with her dog Maggie. Maggie was trained to recognize the problems.

“She alerts to me anytime my blood sugar is going below 90 or above 150 so that I can stay in a very safe range,” said Wildman.

When WHNT News 19 met with Wildman and Tucker, we tried to get Maggie to demonstrate her service, but Maggie was distracted and for good reason.  Julia checked her sugar.

“It’s on 208,” said Wildman.  “That explains some of her bad behavior.  She was pawing right before you got here.  She first pawed and I was 130.”

Like Tucker, Wildman didn’t know it.   She has been walking Tucker and his mother through the steps of acquiring a diabetic alert dog from Warren Retrievers in Virginia.

“She has saved my life several times from lows in the middle of the night, lows that I didn’t feel when I was alone,” said Wildman of Maggie.

Tucker cannot wait to meet Sweetie, his diabetic alert dog coming in May.

“I’m really excited. Definitely,” he said.

Tucker and his mother, Amy Crowden, have raised half of the $25,000 commitment to get Sweetie. The dog is expected to give Tucker new freedom in life and relieve his mother of fear that she’s dealt with since her son was diagnosed 11 years ago.

“He would never be alone,” said Crowden of Sweetie.

And like Maggie, Sweetie would be a service dog who could go anywhere and everywhere guaranteed by federal law.

Even though the dog is on her way, Tucker still has to raise $12,000.  He and his mother are planning another fundraiser in March. And they say they’ll hold a community meet-and-greet with Sweetie, when she arrives.

We will keep you updated on how you can help and when you can meet Sweetie.

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