Over the weekend our family went to California Adventure (A Disney Resort Property). We take Raven with us when we go, as she really thrives in the kind of chaotic environment that is a crowded amusement park. She loves going on rides, (yes, many of the attractions allow service dogs) has no problem meeting characters in costume, isn’t distracted by loud noises, booms from fireworks, flashing lights, or popcorn all over the ground. She works through all of it. One of the main reasons she is important to us at places like this is the “Disneyland effect” that happens to Quin’s blood sugar. We struggle keeping him in range at places like this. So many factors can affect blood sugar, and in a single trip to an amusement park we see all of them. The rides alone can cause excitement, fear, anxiety, an adrenaline rush, joy, all of which can swing blood sugars. Add in a lot of activity, amusement park food, and by the end of the day, exhaustion, and you can see it can be tough to manage. Quin normally can’t feel his highs or lows. We have had moments where we are having the best time, huge smiles, lots of laughs, and his blood sugar can be plummeting. Yes, we have technology that aids us, but it is no where near as real time as our service dog’s nose.  More »


No where else in my life do I allow people as close to me, my children, and my service dog as happens when waiting in line for a ride at an amusement park. In a crowded place with a service dog (especially a black coated dog that can be hard to see, you senses are heightened as you try to protect the dog and the people around you that don’t expect a dog to be there. So when waiting in a line for a ride, you can hear a lot of conversations of the people around you and next to you. And as I am generally the only one with a dog, many of those conversations are about us. Here are a few conversations i heard yesterday, all while waiting in line for the Haunted Mansion at Disneyland:

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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 »

What does living with diabetes mean? How do you explain it to someone that doesn’t get it? How do you convey the seriousness of it when your child LOOKS healthy, acts fine, and the rest of the world would have you believe it is easily cured/fixed?┬á 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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