Major and I

I am a father, husband, runner, and photographer. I have 2 boys. My oldest son is a type 1 diabetic, and he has 2 Diabetic Alert Dogs, or DAD’s. They are my running buddies.

Major was our first Diabetic Alert Dog. He is a rescue that our trainer found for us. He was with a different trainer, being trained for field/hunting work, and had a habit of crushing birds, and for that he was abused. He lived on a gun truck for 23 hours a day, and when Crystal found him, he was under weight and covered in urine. Given time and love, he has really blossomed into an amazing DAD. He still doesn’t like to give the tennis ball back though 😉 He is our public access dog, and he is amazing out in public. He has issues with night alerting and car alerting (we believe both stem from his former life)


8360095572_f12a856d94_bRaven is the newest edition to our family. Raven has been in the DAD program for awhile, but she has a barking issue and is very high energy, making her tough for a family that needs to send her to school or work. But Raven is an amazing night alerter, and she also works in a car. We initially “borrowed” her in an effort to hopefully train Major, but she became a perfect fit for our family, and now we have “Team Blackdogsrule”



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  1. I have investigated a diabetic alert dog for myself; however, I have been unsuccessful in finding available dogs in the south. Seems as if the dogs are kept in the general area of the country that they are trained. Does anyone have additional information which could help me? I live in the Gulf Coast region. Thanks!

  2. Do you have any knowledge of where to locate a DAD in Southern California ?

    My mom has diabetes and Parkinsons ( 12 and 7 years respectively) In the past before her diagnosis we had black labs – the best! Would love to find a match for her soon. Much thanks!

  3. Araceli Vivanco

    Any international sites that could ship dogs abroad?

  4. What was the process like for getting the service dogs? I’m a 28 year old type 1 for almost 16 years and find this very interesting and possibly very useful for myself. Is that process long or hard to get one etc? Also curious in the financial side of it as well if willing to give any details.

    • Frank Wisneski

      Hi Jean! In our case, and through our organization, an application, essay, and home check needed to be done, along with verification that our diabetes management was established (it can be a waste of time, money, and effort and detrimental to the animal to put a trained dog into the hands of a person that isn’t caring for themselves)

      Through a reputable trainer/organization, the wait can be long, up to a couple of years, for a fully trained dog, and the cost can rival that of a nice used car. On the side bar over here —–> there are links to Canine Hope (where my dad is from) and, a website that provides a lot of info on DAD’s, trainers, organizations etc.

  5. As a service dog owner, you should check out, the web page for the International Association of Assistance Dog Partners

  6. Shannon Gallagher

    Is there any trainers in Charleston, SC? I am going on Monday to pick up a five month old black lab pup, his breeder said he would be great for a DAD! I have had diabetes for 31 years and my youngest son was diagnosed this past November a little before he turned 2! I was actually diagnosed at the same time in my own life. I would love to work with someone to get Max trained for us!

  7. Beautiful dogs! Can you email me when you get a chance? I’ve got a couple questions for you.

  8. Heather Sheehan

    Love your information! We are in the beginning stages of getting a DAD and there is a lot of information but your blog is dead on. It’s a bit overwhelming. We are very unsure of what route to take. If you have time to reach out I would greatly appreciate it. Thank you for your information.

  9. Just found your blog. Our Son was diagnosed with Type 1 the fall of his Freshman year. He went from 133lbs down to 99lbs. We initially thought the weight loss was from football, then he started felling reall ill, lethargic, couldn’t get out of bed. Our primary Dr, told us it was Mono. That night we decided to take him to the hospital. The ER DR. knew right away what it was. He’s a Sr. now. He now longer plays football, but he plays Ultimate Frisbee (Frisbee Football). He’s doing great. I’d like to send you picture of him for your What Diabetes looks like Wall.

  10. Thanks for all the interesting info about your DADs, the problems with night alerting especially. I’m 29 but have had type 1 since I was 18yrs old. Even though I’m well controlled my night hypos are sudden and make me fit because I have little awareness. Our rescue dog sleeps on our bed, and is like my black lab shadow. Then without warning she woke me up repeatedly in the nights, I would wake up and shout at her, confused but she would keep nudging and licking until my husband became aware she was waking me before I dropped too low and fitted. Unfortunately me shouting made her think of her past abused life and she gradually stopped alerting at night. She still alerts in the day and we are trying to correct our mistake but every dog is different, and she’s never had training. funnily enough we rescued a deaf staffie pup who again is like glue and the old dog is trying to teach him to take over. Dogs are wonderful, and you have some very special black lab family members. Amanda, from UK.