BAR HARBOR — The community effort to raise money for a diabetes alert dog for 10-year-old Molly Dillon has achieved its $18,000 goal.
Individuals and organizations have given to the cause, and there have been a number of fundraising events. Among the most recent was a benefit brunch on Sunday, Nov. 16, at the Acacia House Inn. Inn owners Anna Durand and Ralph McDonnell said the event brought in $1,748 to help Heather and Ed Dillon of Bar Harbor pay for the dog for their daughter, Molly.
Molly has Type 1 diabetes, and her blood sugar can rise or fall to dangerous levels in a very short time. The dog she will be getting currently is being trained at a facility in Oklahoma to equate changes in the smell of Molly’s breath with fluctuations in her blood sugar level.
The dog, a goldendoodle named Opie, will be ready to come to the Dillons sometime this winter.
“Our family is overflowing with gratitude because of the support we have gotten from the community in reaching our fundraising goal,” Heather Dillon said Wednesday.
She said that Molly experienced a drop in her blood sugar during a play rehearsal Tuesday night.
“As we dealt with it, we marveled at the fact that soon Opie will be here to alert us that the low is coming before Molly feels unwell,” Dillon said. “Opie will belong to and be here to take care of Molly, but she is also the community’s dog. What an amazing and loving community in which to live.”
The diabetes alert dog that Molly was originally going to get is a goldendoodle named Clover. But because the Dillons had not raised the $18,000 needed to bring her home by the time Clover had completed her training, the trainer sent Clover to a family in Sioux Falls, S.D.
Six days later, Clover saved the life of 6-year-old River McKenzie. Twenty minutes after his parents tucked him into bed, Clover let them know something was wrong. They checked River’s blood sugar level and found that it had dropped to an alarming level.
“He was in a pre-seizure state … and we couldn’t get him to come to,” River’s mother told the Argus Leader newspaper. “His eyes were rolling back in his head.”
Heather Dillon said she and her family had been disappointed that they weren’t able to get Clover.
“But it looks like it all happened for a reason,” she said of the dog’s life-saving action.
She hopes Opie will be just a vigilant with Molly.