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  • Writer's pictureThe Hammonton Gazette

Diabetic alert dog Elvis joins the Seitles family

Courtesy Photos Diabetic alert dog Elvis joined the Seitles family last month.

HAMMONTON—The Seitles family welcomed diabetic alert dog Elvis to their family on Feb. 27.

Casey Seitles who will be turning 9 years old has been living with Type 1 diabetes for three years.

Elvis, a golden retriever and Irish setter mix, will make sure Casey is healthy and safe by alerting him and his parents, Lisa and Sam Seitles, to out of range blood sugar levels. Elvis alerts by placing his paw on Casey or his parents.

“When Elvis first met Casey you could see that he immediately picked up on that Casey is his person,” Lisa Seitles said.

This month Elvis and Casey will be celebrating their birthdays together. Casey will be celebrating his ninth birthday and Elvis will be turning 2 years old.

“The two of them are close already and to have a birthday so close together is also a pretty happy occasion to have them celebrate together,” Lisa Seitles said.

Sometimes Elvis is more accurate than the glucose monitor because there have been times where the monitor said Casey’s blood sugar was dangerously low, however, Elvis was not alerting. After a finger poke, it turns out Casey’s blood sugar was at a normal level.

“In the past we would’ve treated Casey with glucose tablets thinking he was in imminent danger, but now with Elvis we’re realizing that sometimes the DG7 data is incorrect,” Lisa Seitles said.

When technology isn’t working such as during the AT&T outage, having a service dog like Elvis has been a great tool to alert Casey early when his blood sugar levels are low.

“The peace of mind knowing that he is the back up to technology not always working is amazing and I would never not use the CGM, and now having Elvis I would never not use Elvis. I think the two technologies and Elvis together make an amazing combination for Casey’s health and safety,” Lisa Seitles said.

The family received Elvis from Bowen Elite Service Dogs. Part of their program is that they are available 24/7 for the life of the dog.

For the next six months, the Seitles will be training Elvis to do night alerts. After Elvis alerts Casey by placing a paw on him, Casey tells Elvis “good alert” and then the pair notifies mom and dad about the alert.

“He’s the sweetest dog ever. You can tell that his training is so ingrained in him that for instance he will not eat off the floor,” Lisa Seitles said.

When Elvis is out in public, he wears a service vest so people know that he is working and to not distract him.

Sometimes Elvis will alert the Seitles when someone else’s blood sugar is out of range.

“He will alert to other peoples’ blood sugar that is out of range. Definitely if he came across other Type 1 diabetics, but also he will alert even me,” Lisa Seitles said.

Seitles said there was a day where her blood sugar was low because she didn’t eat anything and Elvis alerted her.

Getting a diabetic alert dog was made possible thanks to the people who donated through GoFundMe and local fundraisers.

Sam Seitles also won $25,000 during a game of Password on “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon,” which helped pay for the service dog.

“I think we were about $8,000 away from our goal when he won that game show, so a fair portion of that amount of money has gone to supporting the rest of the money we needed to get Elvis. It was an amazing thing that happened that we didn’t expect,” Lisa Seitles said.

Since receiving Elvis, the Seitles family has been helping raise funds for two other families looking to adopt a diabetic alert dog.

“When other people help you, you may end up with enough funds to help people who come after you,” Lisa Seitles said.


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