Sand Lake’s ‘Pumpkin Boy’ Gets His Diabetes Alert Dog

Two years ago, the world met Ian Unger and his pumpkin patch. The five-year-old at the time was raising money selling pumpkins, trying to afford a diabetes alert dog that cost $25,000.

He hit his goal and then some, and now this season, he is back at it but now with his new dog, Gunner.

“It just feels good to have a dog,” says Ian, “I always wanted a dog.”Pumpkin Boy Pic 2

This isn’t just any dog. Gunner can smell the sugar in Ian’s blood and can tell if it’s too high or too low.

“He will paw you like this on your leg and if you ignore him he will bark,” says Ian, “He gets louder and louder until he breaks your ears or if you don’t give him a treat.”

He works, on average 5-20 minutes faster than Ian’s medical monitor. That makes a major difference for a young kid with diabetes.

“My stomach will begin to feel like it’s going to explode and I’m about to throw up my entire guts,” says Ian, “That’s the newest symptom. It used to just be shaky legs and you can barely walk.”

Any extra money made in 2018, went to juvenile diabetes charities. Donors came from all over, giving money or more pumpkins to sell. A seed company, Harris Moran, came forth and supplying Ian with all the seeds he will need and Invisible Fence in Rockford donated a fence to keep Gunner safe at home.Pumpkin Boy Pic

Now the two are inseparable and back to growing and selling their pumpkins. These pumpkins are all grown by Ian himself and at a young age he knew the key to pumpkin sales.

Now as a veteran salesman, he’s adding more than just a cute dog to his sales pitch.

“Well she’s (his sister) the mascot because she’s cute,” says Ian, “And I have a strategy. A very good strategy that works.”

The pumpkin stand is set up at 510 West County Line, just outside of Sand Lake. Pumpkins are now on sale and will be until they sell out.

All proceeds raised from the sales will go towards the cost of Gunner’s insurance and other costs.