Every child wants a pet, but some children need them. 2-year-old Cole Nicodemus was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes last December, and since then, his parents, Beth and Kevin Nicodemus of Oneonta, have decided a service dog is the key to more easily managing Cole’s disease. After stressful months adjusting to necessary changes in their lifestyle and struggling with the unpredictable highs and lows of their toddler’s blood sugar, Beth, Kevin and other family members began researching service dogs. They found Service Dogs by Warren Retriever (SDWR), a Virginia-based breeding and training organization that works with families long distance, delivering their dogs instead of requiring clients to come to them. One of the service categories offered is for a diabetic alert dog.
Through its sharp sense of smell, an SDWR Diabetic Alert dog will be able to detect and warn Beth and Kevin when Cole’s blood sugar gets too high or too low, relieving their anxieties about naptime and bedtime when the 2-year-old’s glucose levels might rise or drop without warning. The dog can also bring Cole’s glucose meter and kit and, with the proper device, dial 911. For Beth, who quit her job as a pharmacist to be at home with Cole full time, a service dog means peace of mind.“It would make our lives a lot easier as far as worrying,” she said.
The dog will cost $25,000. To raise money, family and friends have been organizing fundraising events, most recently a bake sale last Saturday, and hosting a booth at Oneonta’s June Fling, where they gave out fried pies and water and collected donations. In almost three weeks, Beth estimates they have raised $6,000, and there are more events ahead, including a spaghetti dinner, another fried pie sale the first weekend of college football season and possibly a home run derby. They hope to reach their $25,000 goal in less than six months. Cole, who knows his parents plan to get him a dog, often talks about his “suh-vis puppy.”
“He’s adapted very, very well to it,” Beth said of Cole’s diabetes.“We couldn’t have been more blessed than that.”
To make a donation to Cole’s service dog fund, contact Beth Nicodemus at 205-353- 1414 or go to www.SDWR.org click on “Donate,” then “Personal Campaigns” and search “Service Pup for Cole.”