Major

I have had dogs all my life. Most of the time there was more than one. Big dogs, little dogs, snuggle bugs, and crazy fools. My wife and I are both big on rescues, she works in the animal rescue world and I volunteer with a rescue group as a photographer taking pictures of dogs in a local high kill shelter to help get them adopted. We have loved them all. And then came Major…  More »

Small World

We took the family to Disneyland to celebrate my son’s 8th birthday. We also took our service dog Raven with us. We had a fantastic day, and Raven was amazing. Stella did the handling all day and Raven earned her keep with several low alerts. (The excitement of the amusement park tends to burn off blood sugar)

Based on a compliment we received from another SD handler and just how crowded it was yesterday, I realized I have never discussed how important it is or what is meant by protecting your service dog while out in public.

For public access work, distractions, obedience, and crowd control work, I can’t imagine there is any place more challenging than Disneyland on a gorgeous Southern California Saturday. The park was jammed full of guests making it hard enough to traverse the park with kids, let alone a teenager handling a dog.

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12118965_1134890679872496_6966565547759420262_nIf I hear someone say “we are getting a DAD (diabetic alert dog) so we can sleep at night” one more time, I do believe my crime will start with “justifiable”. I am asked often if we sleep better at night because we have Raven, an amazing night alerting dog. And I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen families in the process of getting a dog believe that they will sleep through the night. In some instances, they were told that is the case by the organization they are getting their dog from.

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So you decided to get a Diabetic Alert Dog (DAD). You’ve seen all the amazing things they can do, you know they can help you manage your diabetes (or your child’s diabetes), and you think you understand what it takes to share a household with one.

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Doing some training with Major using the scent stick. Stella is at school, so it is the perfect time to work low scent with the pups. I hooked the GoPro up to Major and sent him on his way. In the first attempt, I placed it on our bed, a place Major will not go unless invited up, so he needs to make a decision to be disobedient. Finding the low scent comes with rewards, and those rewards prove greater to Major.

 

If you have any questions about this, don’t hesitate to ask. Even after 4 years, we still do daily training exercises with the dogs to keep them focused and sharp.

Team Blackdogsrule

Sorry for the dramatic headline, but I see posts like that every single day. Most often it is relating to an alert from a dog. See, this happened to me too, just this past weekend. 20150815-DSCF1638

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Pebble Watch

Pebble Watch

The Dexcom screen, showing the current BS reading, a trend arrow, and a 5 hour overview

The Dexcom screen, showing the current BS reading, a trend arrow, and a 5 hour overview

I am asked often if I really think we need a CGM with the DAD, or the DAD with the CGM, or why would anyone need both, or if I think everyone should have both.

I can only speak for my family and our experience. And here’s the thing. The DAD and the CGM serve different purposes for us. And while I think the DAD’s are amazing (if you get one from a reputable organization and work your ASS off to maintain and build on all the training your DAD has received) they work better in certain scenarios or health scenarios, and for the newly diagnosed, can prove to be a downright disaster. More »

20140201-IMG_6609I love these posts, you know the ones: “We’ve only had Buster the Service Dog for 3 weeks, and already he has saved little Timmy’s life from low blood sugar 6 times! Little Timmy was 26 when Buster alerted!”. While I agree that these dogs have an amazing ability to pick up on sudden, out of the blue blood sugar issues, and it is always welcome to have another set of eye (or in this case, a nose) watching out for your child, there may be some other issue that needs to be addressed. Carb ratios, basal rates, growth hormones, puberty, illness, any number of things that might need to be looked at and considered to help your child.

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