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Service dog helps Navy veteran pursue new dreams after medical diagnosis

Posted at 6:14 PM, Nov 04, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-04 21:14:55-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - A life-changing medical diagnosis forced a San Diego sailor to leave the military and start over.

While devastating, he's now pursuing another career with help from his new best friend.

"When I left the ship and went to MCRD I started getting really sick and thought it was the flu," said Hugo Reynoso.

Instead, Reynoso was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes and was medically retired from the Navy.

"It's kind of scary having a steady paycheck and then going to have to look for something else," said Reynoso.

On several occasions, dangerously high blood sugar levels sent Reynoso to the hospital. A friend suggested he get a diabetic alert dog.

"He has enough personality for the both of us! He's a special character," said Reynoso, referring to his service dog Sky.

Sky can detect when Reynoso's blood sugar levels are too high or low, alerting him by tugging his shirt or howling.

In one instance, Sky detected extremely low levels when Reynoso was sleeping, alerting him to get up.

Sky was by Reynoso's side as he pursued a new career in the automotive field.

Reynoso was commuting two hours to Universal Technical Institute (UTI) in Rancho Cucamonga for a fast-track program.

"I was commuting 167 miles, one way, I would have to wake up around 2:30 a.m., start my drive at 3," said Reynoso.

Reynoso did this five times a week, running on just a few hours of sleep. Sky was there to ensure his blood sugar levels were steady.

"Everyone told me when we were getting ready to graduate that they were going to miss me, but mostly they were going to miss him because he was their support too."

While Reynoso's diagnosis took away his old dreams, he now has a partner to help achieve new ones.