WARNER ROBINS, Ga. — Benny the Labradoodle is more than just a pet for one Warner Robins family.
He became Dylan Cochran's new best friend and guardian.
She has type 1 diabetes, and her mom Whitney Cochran said monitoring her blood sugar for the last two years has become a full-time job.
"I think any parent would do anything to keep their kid safe," said Whitney.
So they got Benjamin -- Benny for short.
"It's like having another child in the house," except Benny has been trained to keep Dylan safe.
"Diabetes is hormone-related. Insulin is a hormone, and when your blood sugar swings in one direction or the other, you put off a smell. Humans can't detect it, but dogs can."
Benny is a diabetic alert dog.
Whitney said when he knows Dylan is "out of range," he will give an alert.
"It's very simple. He sits down and puts a paw in my lap. He knows he is here to make us pay attention, to escalate the disobedience if we're not paying attention."
Whitney said she was skeptical at first because she has never had a dog before, but she couldn't be happier.
"There’s definitely work that we’re having to put in and having to follow all the steps to make sure he stays incentivized to alert us when she is out of range," she said. "He is a very good dog and we’re very excited to have him here."
The Diabetic Alert Dogs of America trained Benny using scent samples from Dylan.
Whitney said the process to get him home took over a year.
She said Dylan's glucose monitor can make mistakes or shut off, like any piece of technology.
Once, it shut down for 48 hours.
Benny gives them peace of mind.
"This one right here gives us some peace of mind, and we don't have to rely on technology."
She said Benny cost $15,000, something insurance doesn't cover.
"We've been joking about the 'dog payment.' It's kind of like a car payment," said Whitney.
Whitney said they are still raising money to pay for the 11-month-old Labradoodle, but they say he's been worth every penny.
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