COEBURN, Va. - Many people say a dog is a man's best friend, and for one local little boy that friendship could become the difference between life and death.
Jonah Mullins is like any other seven-year-old boy, but what you might not know is two years ago, the Coeburn, Virginia native was diagnosed with Type I Juvenile Diabetes. "Our bodies make our own insulin. His doesn't. His doesn't make any insulin at all," explained Jonah's dad, James Mullins.
"You're constantly worrying, especially when they go to school," said mother Rebecca Mullins.
Jonah wears an insulin pump every day to help regulate his blood sugar; but even still, that blood sugar can fluctuate without any warning.
Jonah's parents said they check on their son three times every single night, but one night in particular continues to rattle their nerves. "It wasn't time for me to check on him, and I just happened to get up and check on him. I guess it was just the feeling that I had, and his sugar had dropped to 30," said Rebecca Mullins.
We learned anything below 70 is concerning.
"Your son's there, and you don't know with what diabetes does, you don't know what can happen at night," James Mullins said, battling the emotion.
It was after that night that the Mullins family decided they needed help -- they're hoping a diabetes service dog will become a lifeline for Jonah by using its impeccable sense of smell to alert when his blood sugar drops or elevates to dangerous levels.
"It's supposed to put its paw up if blood sugar's high [and its] paw down if the sugar's low," Rebecca Mullins explained.
But they need the support of the community. Right now, the Mullins' have only raised about $2,000 of the $25,000 they need. "We're asking for any help we can get," said Rebecca Mullins.
In the meantime this family of five clings to the hope they quickly become a family of six. "It's going to be a relief. I believe it's really going to help Jonah," Rebecca Mullins said through tears. "Jonah probably will have the dog be his best friend."
If you would like make a donation toward Jonah Mullin's service dog, you can send that donation to:
Service Dogs by Warren Retrievers
P.O. Box 647
Madison, VA 22727
You can also make a donation online by visiting http://www.sdwr.org/.
When making a contribution either through the mail or online, you're asked to specify the donation is for 'Jonah Mullins' or 'James and Rebecca Mullins'.
If you want more information about diabetic service dogs and the Service Dogs by Warren Retrievers organization, visit the website linked above.