This all started last January when I came across a site that advertised diabetic alert dogs. I am thinking I was doing some sort of search on service dogs but I can't really remember. Anyway, I knew that this would be a perfect thing for me. I really love dogs and have been wanting on for, well... forever, and my diabetes has gotten very dangerous since my transplant. Dangerous because as I have mentioned in previous posts (see here) I don't notice when I get low until I am super low, which could lead to me passing out. If no one is around when this happens I could die because I don't get sugar to my body soon enough. At the time I did't know about continuous glucose monitors. The dog seemed like the best solution. Unfortunately these dogs can run many many thousands of dollars, in fact a low priced dog is around 20,000. YIKES!!!! After learning the cost I moved on realizing that this life saving pal was beyond my reach.
I began searching again for a Diabetic Alert Dog (DAD). This time I came across some information about how you can train your own, which greatly reduces the cost!!!! What this meant for me: I could actually afford one! Although I had gotten my CGM (check my blood sugar and warns me when it is going low) I was finding I still had lows that went unnoticed for a long time. My alarm might go off, but I would either sleep through it or not hear it. It was then that I realized that a dog would help me live independently which is what I have been wanting to do. I began looking for a dog to begin training and came across my little Pepper!
She was the last dog left from a litter of Aussiedoodles (australian shepherd poodle mix) and best of all she was being tested for her service dog (specifically a DAD) potential. How perfect! One thing lead to another. The papers were signed and Pepper became mine!
I picked her up the day after learning my fate. She is awesome! Very well behaved and learns quickly. She is super sweet and loves to snuggle. I am enjoying the training and am so glad that a service dog was a possibility for me!
What is a DAD?A diabetic alert dog is a dog that can smell the changes in blood sugar a person goes through. They are trained to give an alert to the handler when their (the person's) blood sugar either rises too high or drops too low. These dogs can also be trained to do additional tasks ranging from getting juice for a low to alerting others of the danger. What is awesome about these dogs is that they often pick up on the blood sugar change 15 minutes or more before it is picked up on the monitor. This allows the person to deal with their blood sugar and fix it before it becomes a problem. In my case Pepper will be able to alert me to a low, much earlier than I would feel it, preventing my sugar level from getting low enough to be dangerous!