20140525-IMG_9843 20140525-IMG_9822 20140526-IMG_0173 20140526-IMG_0145This past Memorial Day weekend we attended our first AKC rally competition. We were there with several other families, trainers, and dogs in the Canine Hope for Diabetics program (more on why I think this is important later). As you can tell from the pictures above, these dogs, trainers, and families (including my 11 year old and 2 teenagers) did a fantastic job. I got so much joy (and yes, a bunch of nervousness) out of watching my daughter compete with Raven this weekend. My heart was bursting with pride the whole time. More »

20140322-IMG_6709Raven is an amazing night alerter. What exactly does that mean? That means that after a full day of excitement in a house with 2 children,  3 dogs, type 1 diabetes, a running partner, and all that goes along with that, she is still capable of picking up diabetic scent after all the lights are turned off, the house has gotten quiet, and we have all gone to bed. More »

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My girls. I look at this image, and at first it is sad to me. I see and focus on the bringsel on her hip, the alerting tool that a dog will grab when her blood sugar is out of range. I see a CGM on a pouch on her hip. And I see a backpack, with another CGM receiver connected to a cell phone that relays her BS levels to me, with lifesaving tools like a bottle of Gatorade, glucose tabs, and a glucagon needle, her blood sugar meter, and a myriad list of other things for her diabetes. I can’t see it here in this image, but I know that on her left side is a pump that has a tube that is inserted into her abdomen, that provides her with life sustaining insulin.
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1900525_779684465393121_654466269_oStella has spent a lot of time this year working with Raven in rally class. Memorial day weekend she will go to her first competition with Raven. A few of you have asked, “Why is Raven doing rally, and not Major?” The answer is simple, and it’s complicated. 🙂 More »

1661616_814261655268735_7488107394780660463_nWe spend a lot of time in the car. Always on the run somewhere, and in Los Angeles, prone to extended periods of being stuck in traffic. While we are in the front seat, the kids aren’t technically far away, but I can’t tell what my daughter’s blood sugar is doing easily or safely while I am driving and she is in the back seat listening to her iPod, playing with her brother, or sleeping. Raven, one of our diabetic alert dogs (a DAD for short), does alert in the car. But we noticed recently that it was noticeably less often, so we decided to go back to the drawing board and work on fine tuning it a bit. This post gives you some background on where we started, some things we tried (that did or didn’t work), and where we are now.

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20140216-IMG_9612I was asked a GREAT question recently: “I wonder if you have tips on keeping up training with a dad. My daughter got hers in December and I want her to keep up her skills.” I realized that I talk a lot about how much work a service dog is, and how much on-going training is required, but I never really showed you what a daily or weekly training regimen looks like. This post will show you a lot of different things we do with our dogs to aid in our working, training, and handling of them on a daily basis. While there are occasions that these dogs get free time, we keep them pretty busy (and they keep us pretty busy) all day (and night) long.

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1979156_10203364917621334_520525939442577090_oSpring break is over, the kids went back to school. When I got home last night, I told the kids that after dinner I would take them to the park to go run around. We had some odd blood sugars during the day (normally the case after a week away from school) and had to do a site change at 3am that morning, so we were keeping a close eye on our daughter. It was a beautiful afternoon though, and it seemed like a great night to be outside.

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1781540_779684362059798_694877495_oStella and Raven have been working hard together at Rally over the past 6 months, and we continue to work our dogs daily. I have been working Raven off lead (no leash, all vocal commands) for several months, and at home in the safety of our backyard, with little or no distraction, Stella has been doing off lead work with her too.

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