Assistance dog Molly trained to detect when twins' glucose levels become unstable during class
In a first for Canberra's public schools system, two girls living with type 1 diabetes and anxiety have been allowed to bring their assistance dog into the classroom.
For seven-year-old twins Hannah and Olivia Weber, having silky terrier Molly by their side at Ainslie School could mean the difference between life and death.
Molly has been specially trained to detect when either of the girls' glucose levels becomes unstable, and to calm them down when they become anxious.
"We used to get a lot of 'Olivia and Hannah aren't coping very well at school' because of their anxiety," their mother, Adrienne Cottell, said.
When she approached the school's principal, Kate Chapman, about allowing Molly to attend, Ms Chapman was navigating uncharted territory.
"There wasn't a lot of advice to be had in the [education] directorate, though everyone was willing," she said.
"We felt very positive about it, but we started slowly."
Molly began attending the school a few hours each day, and immediately showed her value as a service dog.
On the third day, she alerted Hannah's teacher to dangerously low blood sugar levels.
"Hannah is hypo-unaware, which makes her condition dangerous," Ms Cottell said.
Molly will soon become a full-time presence at Ainslie School.
Molly manages Hannah and Olivia's anxiety with the help of Mind Dog, an organisation that specialises in training psychiatric help dogs.
They provide the certification that allows Molly access to public areas.
Board member Janelle Norton said since Mind Dog started in 2011, the demand for its services has steadily grown.
"We have assista Continue reading