Trained Dog for T1 8-year old Diabetic

September 22nd update: 

We just wanted to give you a little update!

It sounds like Sophia will have her dog by the summertime! The deposit has been made. Her puppy should be in training around spring with a June delivery!

Thank you all for your support!! We are still a little short on the final cost ~ so any last minute donations would be great!!

Loves for the family :)

Sophia's story: 

A dog for diabetics (also known as diabetic dogs) could save my little eight-year cousin's life (she actually turns 8-years old in February). Sophia went to the children's hospital 47 times in her first seven years of life and needs 10 to 12 insulin, and upwards to 20 finger pokes a day, shots a day.

You see, these diabetic dogs have the ability to detect when blood sugars are dropping too fast and will alert us long before her sugars reach critical levels.

The nighttime is the most dangerous time for these little ones. That is when they cannot "feel" a low and that is when their bodies will shut down without notice. Many parents of diabetics call it "Dead Bed".

A diabetic dog is trained to notify the parent during the night when there are critical blood sugars drops. The dog will sleep by Sophia's side acutely aware of what is going in her body; more aware then she is of her beautiful little self.


Here is a link to the 10/11 News Channel story (ran on 12/29/2013) about Sophia's campaign to get a diabetic alert dog:

Here is a link to KPTM Fox 42 news out of Omaha that ran on 01/6/14 helping us get the word out about Sophia's campaign:

Sophia with her grandpa at the lake.

Here is Sophia's story as told by Jodi, her Mom:

"We are so scared out of our minds at night that we get up or just stay up all night long checking and rechecking her blood sugars.

What will a diabetes dog do for us?

It will help give us a peace of mind. These dogs have the ability to detect the blood sugars dropping too fast and will alert us long before her sugars reach critical levels.

I have seen it firsthand as a good friend of mine - and also a mom of a T1 child - has a diabetes dog. Their dog not only alerts for her son but has also alerted on Sophia the first time we ever met the dog. This dog was so smart she knew to alert to me -and not the other mom "“ when Sophia had a blood sugar drop while our kids were playing together. That dog knew which baby was sick and which mom needed to know. Although these dogs are amazing and will no doubt make the life of my child better, and help her live longer, these dogs they also help us parents to breath just a little. I might get my first nights sleep in 8 years.

About the severity of Sophia's diabetes:

My eight-year old Sophia is Type 1 (T1) diabetic. The best way to explain it is that whatever Sophia eats can kill her and whatever she does not eat can kill her: food is our best friend and enemy.

A long time ago, we lost count, but I think we are up to 47 stays at the Children's Hospital in Omaha - an hour away from home "“ since her diagnosis at 21 months of age. We have spent birthdays and Christmases there. We have also been hospitalized in our home town hospitals a couple of time, called 911 more than once, and experienced too many rides in an ambulance to take us to Omaha.

T1 diabetes means that her pancreas can no longer produce insulin to help regulate blood sugars. So, when you eat carbohydrates your body turns that into sugar "“ the energy that your body runs on, but for the sugars to work as fuel, the pancreas has to produces insulin, which adheres to the sugars and allows your body to process the sugars into energy to burn. The insulin helps the body regulate how much fuel to burn: so when the pancreas malfunctions, the body malfunctions, and you die.

Sophia with one of her guardian angel's Shayle Bade #03.

We are now Sophia's pancreas. I am my daughter's pancreas. Can you imagine?

Every second of every day since Sophia was 21 months old I've had to use a mathematical/medical scale to know how much insulin that she will need to stay alive; a calculation that we measure depending on what she eats.

One little error in the calculations can kill her. After a year of shots she was placed on an insulin pump. The pump seemed like a miracle!! The pump does all that math for you. I thought that was no more worrying if I just added the right data or if I chose the right mathematical scale. Boy was I wrong!!

Even when we get it right, Sophia gets sick anyway, because she such extreme type of diabetes.

The term "brittle diabetic" hasn't been used in years, but this was the only way the doctors can explain my Sophia. The first several years of her diabetes were uncontrollable.

We averaged 8 days per month in the hospital. We spent so much time there that the staff from all over the huge Children's hospital in the next city knew us by our first names. They would hear that we were coming - and no matter what nurse was on duty - she would have all of our paperwork filled out and Sophia's favorite movies waiting for her prior to our arrival.

With her being in the hospital so much and all the issues we have had with her I have lost many great jobs. I attempted to get insurance with my last job as a medic on an ambulance. With her existing medical condition, I would have been paying more for the premium then I took home per month and then there was a $10,000 deductible: how can we survive on that?

Sophia with her pumpkin on a pump.

About our little Sophia

Sophia is now in the second grade and is the light around us all.

Since she was diagnosed so young, Sophia doesn't know what life is without diabetes. She doesn't know what it is like to just run in from playing outside and grab a cookie hot out of the oven. She does not know what it is like to have slumber party with all her friends. And what makes Sophia so special is that is okay with that "“ life is what it is, as far as she concerned.

She is such an amazing little girl "“ an old soul of sorts. How she handles her diabetes both makes me both proud and sad. I don't like to see my baby have to be so responsible at an age where she should be getting dirty and giggling in the dark with her friends from their sleeping bags.

Sophia just rolls with the punches, when there are treats at school she will simply say thank you but I will take it home and wait until my numbers are good enough to eat it. I can already see that my baby is going to be an amazing advocate for this disease, she loves when people ask questions about her pump or she sees them trying to hid the fact that they are watching her poke her finger.

She does not shy away. She does not get angry because someone is staring at her while she is getting an insulin shot or finger prick. She just smile with her big brown eyes and asks the person if they would like to watch. Then, Sophia explains everything to them. Afterwards, she shrugs and runs off to play again. Sophia's every moment is great in a perfect world and she is a "normal" kid, until the next time she has to poke, until the next insulin shot.

Your donation

Your donations will go to purchasing and caring for a diabetic dog for Sophia. A dog that help us keep Sophia with us and give a little girl at a chance to grow up to be what she is suppose to be in this lifetime: a doctor, a teacher, an advocate for T1?

Any donations outside of the cost of the dog and its care will go to update Sophia's medical equipment."

About the cost of the dog:

Diabetic dogs are especially trained for their person. So, it could take up to twelve months to train and deliver the dog, after the first deposit is made.

These dogs can cost thousands of dollars plus delivery, travel, and other related costs. Most of the trainers live in different state than does Jodi and Sophia. Some dogs are guaranteed for life and come with retraining. Others don't. We want a dog that is guaranteed by their trainer and will support Sophia for years to come. There appears to be a foundation that might be able to help us make the most out of your donations, but we have to come up with a large deposit. Currently, we are looking into all the alternatives. We are hopeful that you will help Sophia.

We will provide more details as we get closer to our goal.

Sophia is the center of the family

Final words:

I am helping Jodi and Sophia to raise enough money to buy the diabetic dog. Jodi has her hands full taking care of Sophia, the other two girls, and working part-time. All proceeds will go to purchasing Sophia her dog.

There is no cure for diabetes, insulin, shots, pokes, pumps and dogs are simply a tool to help us keep her alive and give her a fighting chance to become the amazing person that she already is!

Can you please help us to bring home a life-saving new friend for Sophia?


You can also donate by going into any Wells Fargo bank across the globe! Please write your checks out to Sophia Cadotte and tell the teller that you are donating to bring her dog home!

To mail:

Wellsfargo Bank 4600 N 27th St.
Lincoln, Ne 68521
[phone redacted]
Acct. name Sophia Cadotte

Thank yo
  • Karen Cadotte  
    • $120 
    • 81 mos
    • $75 
    • 81 mos
  • Judy Tucker 
    • $100 
    • 82 mos
  • Linda Tvrdy 
    • $100 
    • 83 mos
  • Rose M Hottovy 
    • $50 
    • 84 mos
See all


Jodi Tvrdy 
Lincoln, NE
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