Published: 00:01, 25 August 2014
A boy with diabetes has named his new puppy Willow after the Darent Valley ward that saved his life.
Josh Stanford, nine, was left ‘over the moon’ after arriving home from school to find the surprise animal playing in the kitchen.
Mum Leah Stanford, of New Ash Green, said: “Josh is completely dog obsessed and has been asking for one ever since he could talk.
“He is starting to understand his condition more and so I wanted to distract him and give him something different to focus on.”
Josh was first diagnosed with diabetes at the age of 13 months.
He spent four days in a diabetic coma and has since returned to the Willow Ward every three months to have his blood sugar levels monitored.
Ms Stanford, 33, said: “I can’t fault the treatment Josh has received over the years.
“The staff have been amazing. I can ring them at any time and know they will always be there to help.”
The mother-of-two has to weigh all of Josh’s food and type the carbohydrate content into an insulin pump worn on his waist.
She recently had an insulin pump tattooed onto her own waist to ensure her son is not left feeling alone.
She said: “The first thing Josh said was ‘now I’m not the only one!’ It was worth the three hours of pain.”
Willow, who is a cross between a Maltese and Bichon Frise, spent her first few weeks at a local New Ash Green dog grooming parlour. Ms Stanford said: “We would go and visit Willow from the age of four weeks at the parlour.
“She became familiar with us and has been as good as gold since we’ve taken her home.”
Josh has vowed to take good care of his beloved pet.
Referring to hospital staff, he said: “I’ll look after Willow as much as they’ve looked after me.”
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