ORANGE COUNTY, Va. (WTVR) - For 8-year-old Olivia Williams, her chocolate Labrador, Angel, is more than just the family pet.
To Olivia, Angel is actually a lifesaver.
Olivia has Type 1 Diabetes.
“Which basically means her body has attacked her pancreas, and killed it off so it no longer produces insulin,” said Jon Williams, Olivia’s father.
So, if her blood sugar is either too high or too low and goes untreated, she could die.
But that’s where Angel can come to her rescue.
“Angel should tell us basically that her blood sugar is off. Sometimes she`ll bark, she`ll nudge us, or sometimes she`ll put a paw on us,” said Williams.
He says it’s given him and his wife just one more way to protect her.
Angel is a Guardian Angel Service dog.
The non-profit organization in Orange County, Va. breeds and trains dogs for scent detection capabilities.
The owner, Dan Warren says the dogs assist people with invisible health issues such as seizure disorders, post traumatic stress disorder and Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes.
“A high blood sugar smells like cotton candy, very sweet. A low blood sugar smells very acetone, almost like nail polish remover,” said Warren.
Warren says the dog comes with a lifetime guarantee. And, that’s good news for Olivia.
She plans to keep angel around for a long time.
“Our highest guess is maybe until I`m in college,” she said.
The dogs range between $18,000 to $20,000, and Warren helps the family pay for it through fundraisers.
Here is a link to the Guardian Angel Service Dogs website: http://guardianangelservicedogs.org/