Diabetes dog helps keep Iowa teen safeUPDATED 5:44 AM HST Nov 19, 2013Video Transcript
As Thanksgiving approaches, a lot of Iowans will be giving thanks for their families. Especially new family members - like the one who joined a southern Iowa family a few months ago-- and has been saving the day ever since - in Eric Hanson's This is Iowa. THERE'S NO COINCIDENCE GUYS RUNNING MACHINERY OFTEN SHARE A LAST NAME. That's all I ever wanted to do was farm. FARMING GETS IN YOUR BLOOD. Yeah, it's me and my dad and my nephew farms with us and my five boys. PAT'S OLDEST? JAMES? He's been out here helping ever since he was big enough to walk. Dad, do you want me to come out there and catch you? HE MIGHT BE A FEW MONTHS SHY OF LEGAL ON LUCAS COUNTY ROADS, BUT IN A FIELD? Alright, you can pick me up right up here. THE 15 YEAR OLD CAN PILOT A TRACTOR WORTH 6- FIGURES WITH PRECISION. EVEN AFTER WHAT HAPPENED TWO YEARS AGO AT PLANTING TIME-- I didn't know whether to believe it. WHEN HIS MOM GOT THE DIAGNOSIS. You could lose a kid right there. Well she started crying when she told me. JAMES HAD SEVERE TYPE ONE DIABETES-- Your life changes. And... everything about your life changes. ESPECIALLY COUNTING CARBS AT EVERY MEAL AND ROUND- THE-CLOCK BLOOD SUGAR CHECKS. BECAUSE ONE WILD SWING CAN PUT HIM IN A COMA. So yeah, there was a lot of worry. MAKING HER STRESSED EVEN WHEN SHE DID GET A FULL NIGHT'S SLEEP. And that's a really upsetting morning when I realize I didn't hear any of those alarms. And is he OK in there? SOMETHING HAD TO CHANGE. I'd never heard of it until my mom found it on the internet. SO THE SEVEN EVANS? It's not like a plug in electronic device that's going to help you. BECAME EIGHT. Just another one to the family. Lexi. Her name is Lexi. A DIABETIC ALERT DOG-- It's really amazing. WITH A NOSE FOR TROUBLE BEFORE JAMES' BODY DISHES IT OUT. Even humans can smell a diabetic when they're high. It smells sweet. They think that the low scent is probably acidic or something offensive to them. WHEN LEXI GETS A WHIFF OF HIS CHANGING BLOOD SUGAR LEVELS-- Paw. There she alerted me. SHE SWIPES AT HIM AND WATCHES-- Good. Good paw. INSISTING HE CHECKS. A 9 MONTH OLD-- Oooo. Good high! THAT'S ALMOST ALWAYS RIGHT. AND A PUP THAT CAN ALSO CRACK THE WHIP. If I'm in trouble and she paws me and I just think she's playing, she'll eventually like lay on my homework so I can't do nothing. A PARTNER SO CRITICAL-- Lexi, mat. SHE'S BECOME JAMES' SHADOW. IN THE FIELD, LEXI'LL REACH UP FROM THE FLOOR-- Good paw, OK? AND INSIST HE TEST HIS BLOOD - MINUTES BEFORE A MONITOR WOULD'VE PREDICTED TROUBLE. Need to put in my carbs. BUT IN THE FIELD'S NOTHING-- 1-2-3 Saint's pride! Whooo! COMPARED TO 'ON' THE FIELD. Game kickoff. BECAUSE LIKE ANY GRANDMA WATCHING THEIR NUMBER 84? There goes James! THE WARM- BLOODED LAB MIGHT LOOK REDICULOUS IN A SWEATER AND EAR- WARMERS, BUT SHE'S SUPPORTING HIM-- She pretty much knows which one he is. FROM 40 YARDS AWAY. Trying to tell me something? SHE CAN PICK HIS SCENT OUT OF THE HERD OF SWEATY HIGH SCHOOLERS. whistle. You know, I was pretty skeptical at first. I didn't know. I'd never heard of anything like this. And then, the more I'm around her, I see every day it works. AND ANYTIME SHE'S CONVINCED HE'S IN TROUBLE-- Lexi onto the field. SHE GETS MORE FIELD ACCESS THAN ANY MASCOT-- Am I OK, Lexi? REMINDING THE GUY READING DEFENSES-- Good paw. HE'LL BE IN THE DOGHOUSE UNLESS HE LISTENS TO HIS GIRL. I can't really tell when I'm playing football how I am. So it's good to have her there. RIGHT BY HIS SIDE, SETTING UP HER SOPHOMORE FOR SUCCESS - WHATEVER FIELD HE LANDS IN. I just feel like he has a really loyal companion that has her eye on... or her nose on him too. ERIC HANSON, KCCI 8 NEWS, IOWA'S NEWS LEADER. Friends throughout the Mormon Trail district helped raise the 12- thousand dollars to buy Lexi - and one of them, Jeff Brackin, let us know about her. If you have a good story for Eric, send us an email at kcci.com.