PHOTOS BY Sara Jensen

Henry And Tako Taco



henrydockMy name is Henry Jensen. I have type 1 diabetes. I got it when I was 5. I remember staying in the hospital for three days. It was scary and I was like “Guk! Bad hospital pizza!” And when they tried to put the needle in my hand I was like “No! Don’t do this!” I screamed and cried-I wanted it to stop. Things have changed since then because I don’t have to take so many shots as I did when I first got type 1 because I have an Omnipod (insulin pump) now. I also have a Dexcom (glucose monitor). It used to be like finger poke! Finger poke! Finger poke! Tummy shot! Arm shot! Butt shot! Things are a little easier now.

Sometimes I feel bad when I’m under 60. Sometimes it goes down REALLY fast. Like, bam! Once I got really low and I got the glucagon once at school and it was really scary. It was huge! It hurt and I was screaming. I thought I might die. My friend Sam called me and told me that I would be okay. He told me we would find a cure, which is good, because having diabetes is rough.

My friends Frankie and Angus both have another helper for their diabetes. They have diabetic alert dogs, DADs. Frankie’s dog is named Mochi after a Japanese dessert and Angus’s DAD is named Bruce after Bruce Wayne, who is really Batman. I want a DAD too.

Dogs have really good senses of smell. They can smell things that people can’t. Diabetic alert dogs are trained to smell when your blood sugar is too low or too high. If you’re sleeping it jumps on you, and if you’re awake it pats you on the thigh or knee. If I don’t wake up it comes and gets my Mama or Papa, like woof woof woof, GO HELP HENRY!
I like to go exploring. I want to take Tako Taco exploring in the woods with me so if I go low he can tell me and I can treat myself like a big kid.
Diabetic alert dogs cost a lot of money! They have to be trained by a special teacher. We have a great one in Texas who is looking for a dog for us. I want him to get a dog from a shelter so we can save its life. I want to name it Tako Taco after two of my favorite foods. Tako is the Japanese word for Octopus. You know what a taco is! If you don’t know what a taco is you are crazy!

partyhenryI’m just a kid so I don’t have a job to make money. I talked to my Mama and my Papa about what I could do and they said that I was pretty good at drawing (and my sister is too) so maybe we could do drawings for people. My Papa is a cartoonist so he gets paid to make drawings, which is pretty cool.

So we started making drawings of people and sent them out to some friends. My Mama made a Gofundme page and people really liked the drawings and wanted more. We raised enough money in 14 days,  so that means Tako Taco is going to be part of our family!  So stay tuned for more exciting adventures—I will share all about what it’s really like with a DAD.

P.S. You can check out my Mama’s instagram page to see what happens next.

P.S.S. Also my friend Sam danced for money for Tako Taco. It was funny.

Editor’s note: Henry picked up his dog Tako Taco in July in Texas. Stay tuned for more details on how things are going!

WRITTEN BY Henry Jensen, POSTED 10/04/15, UPDATED 09/20/22

Henry Jensen is 8 years old. He has type 1 diabetes. He like octopus, Sam Talbot, Nick Jonas and Prince. When he grows up he wants to be a spy / cook / comic book artist / explorer / chemist.