When Robert McVey was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, he struggled to find the right treatment option. Then his doctor suggested a service dog.
Diabetic alert dogs are trained to detect swings in blood sugar levels and signal their owners of fluctuations— sometimes even before the person realizes it.
However, the pets aren’t meant to replace any medicine or device, but they can serve as a safety mechanism for people with diabetes.
"These dogs are not for everybody, but if you're somebody who is frequently passing out [due to] low sugar, you definitely want to look into this and see if this is an option for you," Dr. Anuj Bhargava, an endocrinologist at Mercy Medical Center in Des Moines, Iowa, told FoxNews.com
Unfortunately, trained dogs are costly and the waiting periods can be long. After McVey researched and found that prices ranged from $9,000 to $25,000 a dog, he and his wife, Lesli, decided to train their own service animal, Austin.
"The obedience and everything is the same. You still start with that and make sure they have their obedience. As far as the scent training and things, you start them off very early,” Lesli said.
Now, the McVeys want to use their training to help other diabetics who can't afford the high price tag. They're working with another puppy, Rouge, and have plans to continue training dogs for those in need.
"Money's not important—their health and the dogs are important," Lesli said.
It will take about a year to train Rouge and they’re currently accepting applications for her new owner. The extra backup pup is a welcome, albeit temporary, addition.
"We do have an extra set of eyes, er, nose, on me making sure I know what's going on and I'm safe to get back to where I need to be," Robert said.
The McVeys are currently seeking non-profit status for their organization, DADs Paws 4 Life.
Lauren Blanchard is a graduate of the Junior Reporter program at Fox News. She is now a multi-platform journalist and occasional general assignment news reporter. Follow her on Twitter: @LaurenBlanch12