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 »
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.
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.
From a post I did on Facebook, that I felt deserved some space on the blog: We talk a lot about the amount of training we do daily, and the structure that is required to make sure these dogs continue to work and do their jobs. I get asked a lot if these dogs ever get to be “treated like pets like most peoples dogs?” , if they get to have “fun”, if they get time off, If service dog life is a bad life or a rough life for the dogs.
With 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?
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: