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 »

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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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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20141012-IMG_7637-3With the exception of 1 parent, everyone in this image is a type 1 diabetic. Look at all of them. They are happy. Smiling. Holding cute, amazing dogs. They were all gathered together for the Canine Hope For Diabetics 2014 Diabetic Alert Dog Conference at a gorgeous location in the Southern California woods. Perfect weather, lots of friends, dogs, great conversation, activities for the kids and the dogs, training sessions for the dog handlers, discussion groups about diabetes, diabetes technology, animal care and training, it was an amazing weekend. And I captured it all with my camera. So what’s not to love?

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All the attendees to the 2014 Canine Hope DAD Conference

All the attendees to the 2014 Canine Hope DAD Conference

Once again, my track record for bursting into tears while talking about how amazing these dogs are, and all that they do for our family, is at 100%. If you were there, it was disjointed at best, and cut short as I couldn’t get through it. I always feel bad as I struggle with these. But I will give myself 1 compliment. I am passionate about what these dogs are capable of doing, both for diabetes, and for the general well being of their families. This is what my speech was supposed to sound like:

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10268525_870183936343173_6098667844353937_nIn January of 2013, we experienced a massive shift in our daughter’s blood glucose numbers. Her overnight numbers skyrocketed, and we were getting unexplained, random, and unshakeable highs. The reason? Puberty. She has experienced tremendous growth over the last year, and is now 5 feet tall. Just between her June and August Endo appointments, she shot up an inch and 4 pounds. Since January 2013, we have been making constant adjustments to basal rates to try and keep her BG numbers in check. Her A1C test result that January (which would have been for the 3 months prior) was our best ever at 6.9. Her next one 3 months later, all though still great for puberty, was 7.3, and since then we have gotten her down to 7.1 and working or butts off to get her there. Fast forward to last Thursday. More »

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