EXCLUSIVE: 9-year-old boy with diabetes brings new service dog to school
JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) - A 9-year-old boy in Jackson with Type 1 Diabetes has a new friend keeping him safe.
Grayson Vance was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes when he was 5 years old.
"I don't really get nervous, because I've had diabetes for a long time," said Grayson.
After four years trying to make do - two and a half of those spent on a waiting list - he was finally able to get a service dog.
Now Ford will go with Grayson everywhere, including school.
"Whenever your blood sugar is high, it's a sweet smell, and whenever it's low, it's a sour smell. So Ford senses those levels in Grayson's blood sugar from the pores in his skin," explained Lauren Vance, Grayson's mother.
Low blood sugar in diabetics can cause fainting and seizures.
"My legs start to shake when my blood sugar gets low," said Grayson.
Grayson's school, First Presbyterian Day School, hosted a seminar Monday to explain to the students how to treat Ford. The kids aren't allowed to pet him, no matter how cute he looks.
They also have to avoid saying Ford's name, so they don't mess up his training.
"It's a very intensive training, a lot of learning all the commands, a lot of learning just in general how to have a service dog, what to do with a service dog. Because it's not a pet. It's a lot different than just a normal dog," said Vance.
We asked Grayson how he felt about the responsibility of having Ford at school with him.
"It's gonna be sort of a challenge, because he might mess with other people," replied Grayson. "But I hope it's gonna go well."
Paula Clark, the Assistant Head of School at First Presbyterian, is also Grayson's grandmother. She led part of the seminar, explaining the students' respect can't end with the new school puppy- they should also respect Grayson.
"Just like he knew you would have blonde hair, or red hair, or short feet or long feet, or any of those things. Okay? So God make Grayson perfectly in His image, and God made Grayson with diabetes. So it's not a bad thing!" said Clark.
Each time Ford alerts - putting his head on Grayson's lap, or whimpering, he could be saving the 9 year-old's life.
"About the second day that he was with me, he started to alert. That was the first time he had alerted - on Tuesday," said Grayson.
The 9-year-old spent the past week in Kansas getting to know Ford, and now they'll spend the next decade together.
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