BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — Bursting with bubbly energy and chock-full of those giggles, Myles Murphy is your typical 11-month-old baby.
So when his breathing wasn’t right one morning, his mother, Ashley, feared the worst as she rushed him to the hospital.
“I was shocked to find out that his O2 [oxygen] was 100%, and they were too,” Murphy said as she recalled her experience with hospital staff. “So next thing was, let’s check his blood sugar.”
Clocking in with a blood sugar of over 500, Myles was in diabetic ketoacidosis. Nurses told Murphy that Myles likely had Type I diabetes.
“They used the words ‘silent killer’ when they were telling me about diabetic ketoacidosis and diabetes,” Murphy said.
According to the American Diabetes Association, diabetes was the seventh leading cause of death in the U.S. in 2017, many of whom passed in their sleep. To get ahead of that statistic, the Murphys got Myles a continuous glucose monitor. However, even that proved to have limitations.
“There’ve already been times in the one month that it has not alerted me or I was too far away from him to get the reading,” she said.
Ashley needed another way to monitor his blood sugar and she found it, one that’s better, safer, more adorable.
“A diabetes alert dog – I figured any layer of protection I can get for him, let’s get it,” she said.
A diabetes alert dog, or DAD, is capable of sniffing out blood sugar levels and saving lives. Colton Dorough, a student at Chelsea High School, has his alert dog, Runner, to thank for many critical saves.
“He has literally dragged him off the trampoline and halfway up the house to get his attention that he needs to check his levels,” mother Ashlei Dorough said.
The pup has gotten even more impressive with age.
“The older Runner gets, the better at learning he’s getting,” Dorough said. “Some days, he can be up to 30 minutes faster than the blood sugar meter itself.”
The Doroughs got Runner from Tattle Tail Scent Dogs in Utah, the same place the Murphys plan to get their dog.
“We moved forward with a contract and a deposit and then ‘let’s start fundraising,’ Murphy said. “And I never expected that it would go so well so fast.”
Some diabetes alert dogs can cost upwards of $30,000. Murphy said that within just four days of creating a GoFundMe fundraising campaign, the community has already contributed over $5,000 dollars for different expenses to bring the dog home.
“We’ve had an overwhelming response that I didn’t expect at all and really it’s breathed life into me during this stressful time,” Murphy said.
They’re officially on the waitlist and are expecting to make the road trip to retrieve their new dog in late summer or early fall.
If you’d like to contribute to the Murphys mission to raise the money for Myles’ diabetic alert dog, you can click here.