ROSE BUD, Ark. (KTHV) -- It's graduation season. Time to figure out that perfect gift for the high school senior as he or she prepares for the next stage of life.
Tyler McCready, now a Rose Bud High School graduate, had help accepting his diploma from a special four-legged friend: his diabetic alert dog, Sinatra. They're connected at the hip through a purpose only few understand.
“He's been here since 10th grade, so he's earned it,” said Jerry McCready, Tyler’s dad.
“He hasn't really been a good chick magnet yet, I haven't gotten any phone numbers,” Tyler said jokingly describing his peer’s interactions with Sinatra.
It was a day of cap and gowns, accompanied with a dog with special powers.
"Tyler was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes in January 2012,” Jerry said.
Five years ago Tyler McCready and his entire family were introduced to a new normal.
“One day we were in Missouri and suddenly I got really thirsty and started drinking a lot of water,” said Tyler.
His aunt, who's a nurse, noticed the symptoms and encouraged the family to go check things out.
“We went to the hospital and they checked my sugar. It was through the roof. They said I should've been in a coma, but I was lucky,” Tyler added.
He’s thankful to be alive. His dad said at the time, it was a learning curve for everyone.
“We knew nothing about diabetes, we knew nothing about counting carbs, nothing like that. We were thrown into a whirl wind,” he said.
The family created a Go Fund Me account to help raise money for Tyler’s service dog.
“And within a couple of weeks we got that money up and he was mine,” said Tyler.
Sinatra is a Type 1 Diabetic Alert Dog. He's by his owner’s side 24/7.
“He goes to church, he goes everywhere with him,” Jerry said.
Everywhere including his high school graduation.
“That dog needs a PhD,” his dad said jokingly.
Sinatra has attended class with Tyler since the 10th grade. He can sense and smell when his blood sugar gets high or low.
“He will paw and alert him that his sugar is dropping. And usually the dog is a little bit quicker than the diabetic equipment that he's got,” dad said.
The celebration wouldn't be complete without Sinatra dressed in a cap and gown too.
“First one came in and it was a little small so we had to get it redone, they got it redone pretty fast,” said Tyler.
He wants to attend college at Full Sail University in Florida.
Jerry McCready said if you have a child who could benefit from a service dog don't hesitate to consider your options. Each school will have a special coordinator who handles these situations.
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