MEMPHIS, Tenn. — An Arlington Middle School sixth grader's life changed after he waited years to get a medical service dog to help him monitor his blood sugar levels.
"He's a combination of the most loveable dog ever and really stubborn," Eli Nichols said.
Doctors diagnosed Nichols with diabetes when he was just 4-years-old.
Nichols was recently connected with Einstein, a black labrador medical service dog, to help him manage his diabetes.
"I have diabetes where my pancreas killed itself. It sounds weird, but it happened. I can't make insulin," Nichols said.
The 11-year-old has used medical equipment to keep track of his blood sugar levels.
He complained it was painful and thought there had to be another way.
Nichols' mom found out about CARES, Inc. It's a non-profit out of Kansas that works with prisoners to train service dogs.
She applied, and three years later they were approved.
"I started crying for three days, because I was really happy," said Nichols.
He could finally get rid of that painful sensor.
"He smells my ketones in my body. Ketones are when your body burns fat instead sugar," Nichols said.
Einstein barks or alerts an adult when Nichols' levels change. He's even sensed something was wrong while he was asleep or playing blocks away.
He keeps an eye on Nichols at home and while at school, and even at band practice.
"He's like a personal best friend all the time," said Nichols. "Not having to wear painful equipment with needles all in your body, that's a lifesaver!"