PRINCE GEORGE COUNTY, Va. -- Bentley Garter, 8, lives with type 1 diabetes.
"When it goes low I feel like, really dizzy. Like um, I feel really weird," Bentley said about his symptoms
The Garters knew Bentley's life could hang in the balance, so they researched diabetic alert dogs and realized a trained dog could safe Bentley's life.
They worked hard to come up with the money and found a puppy in training named Milo.
Milo would be Bentley's perfect match. But just two weeks before Milo was to arrive in Prince George County, the Garters got some bad news.
"[They said] we weren't able to get her because they called my mother and said she was too wound up for me," Bentley recalled.
So Christmas was not at all what it was supposed to be.
"We thought we were going to have to go through the whole process again in picking out a puppy, the eight to nine months of training, everything," Bentley's mom Kendall Garter said.
But once again, a phone call changed everything.
"The Diabetic Alert Dogs called us and said we might have someone you might like and it was Leia, so and I liked her, so picked her," Bentley said.
And just an importantly, Princess Leia picked him.
Now dog and dog are growing up together.
"He's still an eight-year-old little boy who now has 100 percent responsibility of another living life," Kendall Garter said. "So he has to remember she has to go out to the bathroom, she has to be fed, she has to be watered."
Part of Bentley's training includes getting up 30 minutes early every day.
"She has a cup of food every morning, he feeds her out of his hand to start the bond with them," mom said."
While Princess Leia's training started last April, Bentley's is just beginning.
"Trying to learn that I have to speak louder, when I tell her and I can't say it more than six times," Bentley said.
"There are times where he`s like, Leia just pawed me and he's so excited and then there's other times where he`s just in his own little world and she's going up and pawing at him," his mom said.
Pawing his how Leia alerts Bentley that his blood sugar is either too low or too high. A job Leia started the moment she walked into Bentley's home.
"She alerted me and it was high, so I gave her some treats, high value treats," he said.
"They were sitting right there on the floor, Bentley's sugar about that time was over 300 and she walked right up to him and started pawing him," mom said.
Bentley, like many people with diabetes, has a pump to provide insulin and it alerts him when there is a problem. Princess Leia works faster.
"She alerts him before it gets out of control," Kendall Garter said. "Before the pump even alerts him, she gets a scent."
Even when Bentley sleeps, Leia is working right beside him.
"She's supposed to sleep on the ground beside my bed, but she sometimes she wants to jump in my bed and lay down right beside my side," Bentley said.
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