Helping Bring Service Dog Home

Since 1999, the Lowe’s Employee Relief Fund has contributed $20 million in assistance to more than 18,000 employees, including many in the wake of disaster. But for one employee and his family, the fund is helping them sleep better at night for the first time in more than two years – since the moment their son was diagnosed with juvenile diabetes.

Jonah Mullins was just 5 when doctors informed his parents, Jim and Rebecca, that their son had Type 1 diabetes. They were told his particular condition was more difficult than most because he was prone to sudden and unexpected spikes or crashes in blood sugar levels that could cause their son to lapse into a coma or die if undetected, and those spikes or crashes could come while he’s sleeping. Checking his blood sugar levels throughout the night – every night – had to become part of the family’s routine.

It’s a relief knowing Jonah’s going to be safe with her there by his side.
– Rebecca Mullins, Jonah’s mother

Aside from never having an uninterrupted night’s sleep, Jim and Rebecca worried about alarm clocks not working, and spikes and crashes happening between checks. Peace of mind was hard to come by, made worse by the night Rebecca woke up randomly and found Jonah’s blood sugar down at comatose levels. From that moment, the old system of checking at regular intervals was no longer viable. The Mullins family needed help, and they found it from an unlikely source – a golden retriever puppy named Luckie.

Service dogs like Luckie are trained to sense when a person’s blood sugar levels are spiking or crashing, and to find an adult and signal whether levels are going up or coming down. But raising and training a dog like this is expensive, and money was tight. That’s when Brandie Baker, the human resources manager at Lowe’s of Wise County, Va., encouraged Jim to apply for assistance from the Lowe’s Employee Relief Fund. With the help of the fund and others in the community, the Mullins family raised enough money to make a down payment on the dog and training services.

Luckie was introduced to Jonah and family for the first time on Sept. 14, 2013. “It’s a relief,” said Rebecca, “knowing Jonah’s going to be safe with her there by his side.”

That night, the Lowe’s Employee Relief Fund gave the entire family something it had been without for two years – a good night’s sleep. The next day, Jim brought Luckie and Jonah by the store.

“I came to Lowe’s to let them see what they helped us do, not just the employees at my store but the employees at all the Lowe’s stores,” Jim said. “I can’t thank them enough for what they’ve done for us.”