We have a 10 year old type 1 diabetic daughter and a 5 year old son. Whenever we go out, even if it’s just to the grocery store, we require a lot of stuff.

But for the sake of this post, let’s assume we are going out for a whole day. Let’s say we will meet some friends for a trip to the Arboretum, and then head off to dinner. How much stuff do we need to take to make sure we can get through the day? Without a trip to an ER?

First things first. We have an emergency kit that always has the following:

  1. Glucagon shot
  2. Smartees
  3. Single serve peanut butter (to help keep her up once we get her up)
  4. needles
  5. alcohol wipes
  6. spare infusion sets
  7. AA & AAA batteries (how bout making the meter and pump use the same battery?)
  8. test strips
  9. lancets
  10. a small first aid kit (bandaids, aspirin, neosporin, etc)
  11. Gatorade

We also carry insulin in a separate cold pack in case an infusion set gets ripped out or we have a meter failure.

We always carry snacks like cheesesticks for her, and granola bars for him (or her if she goes low)

And of course we have a meter, her pump, water bottles, and cell phones with various apps like Calorie King and internet access so we can look up nutritional info for eating out.

Now, what if we throw a service dog (or 2) into the mix? Should be easy, right? You take your dog for a walk around the block and don’t need anything but a poop bag, right?

But I mentioned we would be gone for a day. And the dog is a living, breathing thing that wants to eat and drink, use the restroom,  and of course work, and occasionally rest comfortably.

If my wife and I are together, normally she carries the diabetic kit/kid stuff, and I have a backpack just for the dogs. Here is what we need to make sure goes with us:

  1. the harnesses
  2. leashes
  3. martingale/pinch collars (I often bring both, their use is determined by who is handling them and where we are)
  4. collapsible bowls for water and food
  5. water and food (food depends on how long we will be gone)
  6. place blankets (we use these for the dogs to lay on, they cover up dirty floors at theaters, sports arenas, and amusement parks, and they are familiar)
  7. A bringsel for alerting
  8. dog boots (weather dependent)
  9.  poop bags
  10. training treats and a treat holder for my belt
  11. a chew dude or reward toy for alerting to a low
  12. if necessary, a light up collar for dark locations

Phew… between the dogs and the kids, we need a wagon! This doesn’t even include sweatshirts/jackets, sunglasses, a ponytail band, toys for the car, maybe a change of clothes for my son if we will be around water/mud, and all the other “stuff” you just need to bring.

Major on his “place blanket” at a restaurant in SeaWorld
Here, you can see the green bag which is my wife’s purse/diabetic supply cabinet, and my “dog” backpack is next to it on the bench

As you see, just getting out of the house is a lot of work. Always remember that when you leave for the day, your pet dogs run around for a second, and then go lay down somewhere. We are asking these dogs to follow us around a zoo, or an amusement park, or sit under a table at a restaurant, or sit through a really loud movie, through a fireworks display, or sit in a 2nd grade classroom,  in a busy office building, to walk through a grocery store with all the low lying delectables, to be quiet in a library or church, on a crowded subway, and well, this list goes on and on. It requires a tremendous amount of endurance, self control, and excellent obedience. We work on these things constantly, and are always looking for new scenarios to add to our training.

And then through all of that, we STILL expect these dogs to alert us to an out of range blood sugar level. I don’t know how they do it. If I’m at a restaurant that is making bacon, forget it, I’m done, I can’t smell anything else 🙂

I’m sure I’m leaving things out, so feel free to comment on what “must haves” you bring with you.


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  1. Man, I was so happy when I got to use a smaller purse because I didn’t have to carry around baby stuff any more. you just reminded me I’m going to have to bring a backpack every where.

  2. I always pack a 2 oz spray bottle of Natures Miracle and a couple sheets of paper towels. Even a well trained dog could have an accident.
    I also always bring business cards for the organization I work with and the breeder of whichever dog I have. I never pass up an opportunity to promote their generosity and support.

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  4. We refer to the pack that holds our son’s diabetes pack as our second child. Its contents is THAT valuable and important to our son’s health and welfare and referring to it in this way conveys its importance to other adults who care for our child.

  5. And of course, the majority of stuff in the kit is back-up supplies for stuff that is already in the purse, the glove compartment, my pockets, etc…

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