Mineral Wells Area News

Hercules the Hero Dog

Hercules the Hero Dog
October 25
07:20 2023

The inspiring story of Kyler Sargent, a 12-year-old Mineral Wells boy with Type 1 diabetes, and his steadfast service dog, Hercules, is a testament to the power of companionship and resilience.

By Lori Lynch / Special to Mineral Wells Area News

Diagnosed with diabetes in March of 2016 at the tender age of 5, Kyler Sargent and his parents began a journey filled with challenges and heartwarming moments.

The adversities began when Kyler was just five and his parents noticed him exhibiting symptoms such as excessive thirst, abnormal irritability, and unexplained fatigue. Those symptoms are common indicators of diabetes so the family sought medical attention and Kyler was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes.

“To say we were shocked was an understatement. There was so much to learn about keeping Kyler alive,” explains mom Shawnese Sargent.

Living with diabetes, especially at such a young age, required huge adjustments to their lifestyle, which Sargent says they took together in stride, as a family.

Constant blood sugar monitoring and insulin injections became part of their daily routine, but four years ago, Kyler’s life took an uplifting turn when a family from Aledo decided they would gift a service dog to the Sargent family.

Hercules, a golden retriever, who underwent rigorous training to become a service dog, possessed an extraordinary ability to detect changes in blood sugar levels, or in Kyler’s words, “Hercules helps me control my blood sugars when they’re out of whack!”

Diabetic service dogs, also called diabetic alert dogs or DADs, can detect those fluctuations often before any visible symptoms emerge. Their keen sense allows them to smell chemical changes in breath, saliva and sweat that happen when blood sugar levels shift. DADs are trained using various blood sugar level samples of their potential humans prior to going to work for them.

After waiting three years for his service dog to be ready for duty, upon arrival, Kyler quickly learned Hercules, his loyal K-9 companion for over four years now, would turn into a source of strength as well as a lesson in overcoming obstacles.

Hercules and 7th grader Kyler attend Mineral Wells Jr. High and face the world together daily. He feels some days are more challenging than others.

As a service dog, Hercules wears a bright red vest indicating his role, but it doesn’t always deter curious children from wanting to pet him. Another challenge Hercules faces is his size. As a golden retriever, he is larger than most service dogs, making transportation from place to place during their busy schedule quite a task according to Kyler’s mom.

Despite these obstacles, Kyler’s bond with Hercules has grown stronger with each passing day. The dog’s vigilant presence gives Kyler and his parents the confidence in pursuing activities with very little hindrance from his diabetic diagnosis, including playing on the football team.

Hercules alerts Kyler that his blood sugar levels are concerning by placing his paw on his leg, urging him to check them for accuracy and treat if needed. It’s this type of additional care that is helpful due to the busy nature of the family’s lifestyle. Kyler said that Hercules has even become an honorary member of the football team and his mom says that the whole town has been so encouraging and uplifting.

“We truly appreciate the community’s support in having Hercules, as far as in the restaurants and schools around town. People are very supportive of him and they respect that he is a service dog,” Sargent said.

As Kyler and Hercules continue their journey together, their story serves as a powerful reminder of the unbreakable bond between humans and their furry companions. It’s a testament to the strength of young souls like Kyler, who face life’s challenges with unwavering determination, and the heroes like Hercules who stand by their side, offering hope and support in times of need.


No Comments Yet!

There are no comments at the moment, do you want to add one?

Write a comment

Write a Comment