Aiden Heath is a young boy living with type 1 diabetes. Since he was 4-years-old, he’s literally been saving his pennies in hopes of gathering enough money for a service alert dog. For four years, Aiden has been saving his allowance plus the money he’s received for birthdays and holidays so that he and his family would have a few thousand dollars needed to put a deposit down on a service dog.
He would put all his collected coins into a red wagon he named “Brinks.” Finally, with a little help from his community, his determination and tenacity paid off.
Back in April 2016, Aiden had managed to raise a deposit of his own – but he was $9,000 short of his original $15,000 goal. Thanks to media coverage of his efforts, strangers came together to show him a lot of love and support and help him fund the rest of his goal.
Aiden and his mother Jenni then were able to go and select a dog from Diabetes Dogs of America. They settled on a chocolate Labrador Retriever named Angel. Angel then underwent several months of training – something that Aiden was able to follow online. Finally, after her training was complete, Angel made the trek from Nevada to the Heath residence in Vermont.
Jenni described the reunion moment as, “Aiden looked at me and said, ‘This is a dream.’”
Angel has been trained to signal both Aiden and his family if his blood sugar drops. As Jenni revealed to ABC News, because a dog’s nose is so sensitive, they have the ability to sense a blood sugar drop 20 to 30 minutes before a device would.
Besides helping Aiden, Angel also helped to take the pressure off Jenni who would often wake up throughout the night to check Aiden’s blood sugar – often two to four times per night.
As Jenni said to ABC News, “Aiden is over the moon. He was on pins and needles waiting for her.”
Aiden began learning all the commands and signals that Angel does. And eventually, he would introduce Angel to his classmates and teachers at school.
Jenni added, “We have been so amazed by the outpouring of support. He is feeling the love. … There are no words.”