For 7-year-old Luke Nuttall, his dog Jedi is his more of a real-life guardian than even most people's guard-dogs.
Luke has Type 1 diabetes, an autoimmune disease that affects as many as 3 million Americans and has no cure. Since Luke's pancreas stopped producing insulin, which allows his body to get energy from food, the glucose in his blood can quickly spike high or fall low. This is especially dangerous when he is asleep, but Jedi can smell these changes.
Luke's mother, Dorrie, recently shared on Facebook the story of one nighttime incident where Jedi lived up to his name, taken from the good-guy warriors in the Star Wars movies. Nuttall woke up to find Jedi lying on top of her: a warning sign. Luke's continuous glucose monitor showed that he was OK, but Jedi wouldn't budge.
"I knew he meant business, and the sleepy fog started to wear off," Nuttall wrote. She pricked Luke's finger and read 57, which was definitely low. Based on Jedi's behaviour, Nuttall guessed that Luke was dropping fast - and he was still asleep.
In over four and a half years, Luke has never woken up on his own to notice low blood sugar, which is why he relies on his parents to wake up three times a night, and on Jedi for the alerts, which often come before his monitor's.
"Type 1 diabetes is relentless, and we need as much help as we can get," Nuttall wrote. She was able to give Luke a glucose tab and snap a photo of Jedi in action, which went viral on Facebook. Nuttall started her Facebook page "Saving Luke - Luke and Jedi - Fighting Type 1 Diabetes Together" in 2012 to share their story.
Luke was diagnosed when he was 2.