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Service dog makes huge difference in life of young diabetic

by: SUBMITTED PHOTO - Anika Bjornson is shown with her service dog, Bassi. In 2011 I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. And I was never that good at telling if my blood sugar was high or low. That was serious because if my blood sugar was too high I could go in a coma, and if it was too low I would have a seizure.

One day my mom mentioned to me that she found an organization called DADs, which means Dogs Assisting Diabetes. I got so excited because I always wanted a dog but I never had one.

We talked to the trainer about getting one of these dogs. She told us that she was going to be at the diabetes convention. We met her there and she told us that she had a dog that she was giving to a man but she was not so sure about giving him the dog. She said that we could have the dog if we wanted.

My mom and I both said yes, and I was very excited!

One day my mom said that we officially got the dog and we get to name it. I went on the Internet and searched Icelandic dog names, because my name is Icelandic, too. I was searching for an hour but I finally found the perfect name, Bassi — meaning “little bear” in Icelandic. A few weeks past and as I was getting out of softball practice my mom said that we are going to pick up Bassi for the first time.

As I walked into the house I saw a little boy dog running on the ground.

“This is Bassi,” the trainer said as I picked up the dog.

by: SUBMITTED PHOTO - Anika Bjornson is shown with her service dog, Bassi.

She taught us how she trained the dogs. You get a scent from when you are low and high (sugar levels) and you have the dog sniff and he alerts you and then you click the clicker.

I was so overjoyed once Bassi got to see his new home.

Months went by and he was still being trained. He was officially finished being trained when he was a year old.

I got to take him everywhere I went, and he helped me everywhere I went. But there was one place he couldn’t go, it was school. All schools have to let service dogs in but this school didn’t because it was owned by a church, and churches don’t have to say yes.

I needed Bassi with me so we decided to move to Lakeridge Junior High School.

Bassi is loved by many there but, most importantly, he saves my life every second of every day watching over me. I can’t ask for more than that, Bassi is part of my life. I can’t picture my life without him. Even though he snores a lot.

Anika Bjornson, 11, is a resident of Lake Oswego and a student at Lakeridge Junior High School.




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