Tyler Fingert

Friday, Nov. 18, 2016

Pup with a Purpose: Service dog trained to help child with diabetes

Arizona State University senior Taylor Randle loves dogs. For the last 18 months, she has been raising Kristoff, a service dog in training. She has been by his side almost everyday as he learned the skills he will need to help his future partner.

“I’ve actually been around him since the day he opened his eyes, which is really cool,” she said. “He is my little wiggle worm.”

Randle taught him the basic skills, like sit and stay, and the specific ones he will need to help his future owner. But he has not prepared her for leaving.

“So it’s kind of bittersweet, hard to say goodbye, but you know that they’re going to make a difference in somebody else’s life so it is worth it,” she said.

Kristoff was trained at ASU through a partnership between Power Paws Assistance Dogs, an Arizona based nonprofit, and Sparky’s Service Dogs, a student-run campus organization at the school.

After two years on ASU’s campus, Kristoff headed to a new home where he will be a diabetic alert dog. Mia the family’s six-year-old, has type one diabetes.

“He will help me with my diabetes,” Mia said.

Kristoff is trained to smell changes in blood glucose levels. He will alert if it goes above or below an acceptable range.

For Tiffany Crocenzi, Mia’s mom, Kristoff is going to do alot more.

“Everything she goes through on a daily basis that no child should go through. To have somebody who loves her and can protect her at the same time and help her, is something that most people can’t have,” Crocenzi said.

Even before Kristoff’s first official day with the family, he was already showing how he will be an asset for them.

“When she was in the hospital like a week ago,” Crocenzi said. “Jessa brought him and her anxiety went from being terrified to calm in no time.”

Man’s best friend is going to make it a little easier for a little girl to have one more reason to smile.

To learn more about Power Paws Assistance Dogs and how they are helping people like Mia, click here.

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