Minn. breeder donates puppy to boy with autism, diabetes

A Minnesota breeder is helping people with special needs one puppy donation at a time.

When Kim Ostgaard, the owner of Vikings Silver Labs in Tracy, Minn. heard a 5-year-old living with type 1 diabetes and autism needed an alert dog, she not only offered to donate one of these puppies, she's looking to help cover the first year of the dog's expenses.

Ostgaard says when she got an e-mail from Andrea Lien about her son Gavin's need for an alert dog, she knew one of her 3-week-old yellow lab puppies would soon be a perfect fit.

"It's really tough," Lien said. "I usually get at least one phone call from his school a day telling me there's something wrong with him."

Lien says having an alert dog by his side will improve his life dramatically.

"He will be able to let us know if his blood sugar is getting too high or if it's dropped dangerously low," she said.

Ostgaard said the expense of getting a dog already trained for diabetes is roughly $10,000 to $15,000. Not to mention, a lab pup would otherwise cost $700 or more.

Her puppies get health testing done and testing for Exercise-Induced Collapse or EIC, a defect sometimes found in labs. She expects her puppies to live as long as 10 to 15 years.

Once the puppies are 10 weeks old, one will be on the way for Gavin. Other people with special needs including PTSD and Crohn's disease will be receiving a donated puppy. Here's how you can help and learn more:

Viking's Helping Hands to Paws

Vikings Silver Labs
Up Next:

  • Popular

  • Recent

Stories you may be interested in – includes advertiser stories