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Georgia College nursing student graduates with furry friend and service dog by her side

Samantha Summerville has Type 1 diabetes and has had her medical support dog, Mo, with her since her sophomore year at Georgia College.

MILLEDGEVILLE, Ga. — We may have best friends that are also our furry friends. For one Georgia College graduate, she tells us how helpful her goldendoodle can be.

Samantha Summerville graduated Saturday with her nursing degree from Georgia College in Milledgeville, but she didn't get there without help from her medical support animal, Mo.

Summerville is a Type 1 diabetic. She was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes when she was seven-years-old. 

She applied for a support animal her senior year of high school. She says Mo is able to detect her highs and low blood sugar levels.

"He knows to alert me to those changes in my blood sugars and he's able to paw at my leg usually about half and hour before most of my technology is realizing that I'm high or low," she said.

Type 1 diabetes is when the pancreas can't make enough insulin, which helps give your body energy. 

According to the CDC, type 1 diabetes is less common than type 2. About 5%-10% of people are Type 1. Type 1 is usually detected in children, teens and young adults. Summerville says having Mo around has helped her be more outspoken.

"It honestly helped me break out of my shell, talk about my diabetes and how it's impacted my life. I've been able to share my story with so many people," Summerville said.

With help from the college, they were able to accommodate Mo being with Summerville for classes. She says it's important that people be respectful of those with a support animal.

"Ask the handlers and make sure that it's okay for them to pet because sometimes it's not easy to know when these dogs are doing their job and they may look like they're resting or anything like that, but they may actually be working," she said.

You can find more information about diabetes and take the risk test at diabetes.org.

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