Charlie is one lucky dog. He gets to go to school with his favorite little girl, Lily. He stays right next to her and makes sure she’s safe and feels well every day … and night.
Lily, now 6-years-old, is a very brittle Type 1 diabetic who was diagnosed at 18-months-old.
Her mother, Angie Simonton of Flower Mound, cared for her daughter by herself until the Primrose School of Highland Village, which Lily attended for preschool, held a fundraiser to help buy Charlie.
As a retriever, Charlie had originally been trained to retrieve ducks. But, he didn’t care for cold water and was deemed “unserviceable” for water sports, so he was re-trained and cares for his own “duck,” Lily.
He is a very special kind of service dog whose extraordinary nose can tell when Lily’s blood sugar level is outside the normal range, even before her blood monitor can register the change.
On June 15, the Highland Village Lions Club hosted the trio as group presenters and the audience witnessed Charlie’s diagnostic skill first-hand when Lily’s insulin level changed suddenly.
He grabbed the nylon baton attached to Angie’s belt to alert her that Lily needed attention. The monitor hadn’t yet registered the change, but Charlie again grabbed the baton; he was proven to be right.
Simonton is a Kindergarten teacher at Lily’s school, Highland Village Elementary, so the school year was relatively smooth. Lily’s teacher also worked with Charlie to help him integrate into the classroom.
The Highland Village Lions Club is continuing its involvement with Charlie, Lily and Angie. Plans are to send them next summer to Texas Lions Camp for a one day visit in preparation for sending Lily for a full week in 2015 when she is 8-years-old.
Pictured above, left to right, at the Highland Village Lions Club meeting are: District Governor 2-E2 John Paul Burnett, Lily and Angie Simonton and service dog, Charlie.