My name is Gemma Faulkner and at the age of 2 I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. This was a hard time for both me and my parents and we struggled to find ways to make handling diabetes easier. For years we would all have lack of sleep as my parents would set an alarm to wake them up and test me. This was to make sure I wouldn’t go low in the night as I wouldn’t wake up.
One day my Nan read an article in the newspaper about Medical Detection Dogs. These dogs were trained to tell their owners if their blood sugars were too high or too low. I applied for a dog hoping to be partnered with one. In 2012, on Valentine’s Day, I met a black Labrador called Polo. We instantly clicked and I loved bonding with him. When we bought him home he instantly changed all of our lives for the better. Now, we can all sleep in peace knowing that Polo will always be there to keep me safe.
Having Polo has opened up so many opportunities for me! At the beginning of the year, I had the opportunity to speak at European Pet Nigh in Brussels for IFAH-Europe it was one of the best moments ever! I would have never had the confidence to do something like this without Polo by my side. Not only did I do that but I also did a speech to raise awareness about the Charity Medical Detection Dogs, this was held in the Houses of Parliament.
All the things I have done have really built my confidence levels as when I was younger I was one of the shyest people you would have ever met!
Although he doesn’t come to school with me, he always goes on trips and adventures at the weekends. I recently visited London with Polo and my mum and dad, we all went on the London Eye for the first time, as well as visiting Madame Tussauds to see all the wax figures. I had a really great day and loved taking Polo with me! He gets lots of looks as he walks through the streets and people stop to ask how he works and how amazed they are that dogs can do all these extraordinary things.
With Polo by my side, my life has changed for the better and I don’t know what I would do without him! He is the best companion to have and is always there to save my life every day.