CGM’s and BG meters are tools. They are devices that provide information, generally of an exact moment in time. Diabetic alert dogs provide something different, something that in some cases is exact, and at other times is more nuanced. If trained well, they can provide more information than a screen with a number on it, a lot more, but the handler has to be in tune with their dog.
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There are a lot of stories of puppies being delivered to clients way to early to be called “service dogs”. These are dogs in training, and the reality is that many of them may never go on to become service dogs, alert at night, or even alert consistently/accurately. These dogs are 8-12 weeks old. More »

“Oh my gosh, those dogs are wearing SHOES!”. If I had a dollar for how many times I overheard that as we walked through the Orange County Fair, I’d be rich. We live in Southern California, where the summer months (which seem to blast from March until November ­čśë  ) are often 90-100 degrees, and the asphalt gets hot enough to burn bare feet on humans, or paw pads on dogs. On a sunny day, even at 80 degrees, the asphalt can be upwards of 40 degrees hotter than the outside temperature.  More »

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┬áthan 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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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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