Monday, November 7, 2011

Diabetic Service Dogs

Since it's National Diabetes Awareness Month, I've been doing a little poking around the internet (not too much because there's so much out there and it could eat up all my time) about diabetes. I know a little about the disease--my husband and I and two of our three children have type 1 diabetes and both my parents are type 2--but I can always learn more.

I'd heard about service dogs for type 1 diabetics, and thought I'd read up on it a little. These great dogs are trained to recognize swift changes in blood sugar and alert the owner of these changes to prevent loss of consciousness and other complications. It's amazing how they're trained to notice not only when it's going up or down, but when it is under a certain number or over another. What I really like is that they will wake the owner when this happens during the night. I admit, my kids seem to be pretty good at recognizing hypoglycemia (lows) on their own during the day (great excuse to get food) but I worry they won't be able to drag themselves out of sleep during the night when those crazy food dreams start--the way my body at least, tries to alert me of low blood sugar during the night. It looks like service dogs are a great help for diabetic families. I think I'd especially get one if I had a baby or toddler with diabetes since they can't recognize the feelings or communicate them well enough on their own.

I'm thinking it'd be great to get a service dog/ running partner. That's when I have the hardest time "feeling" the highs and lows--or at least differentiating between running fatigue because I'm out of shape or because I have low blood sugar. To have a dog that could run with me and be able to help me do that would be awesome!! Now if I could only get a service dog to sniff out when my son hasn't finished his homework....

If you'd like to read more about service dogs for diabetics, Dogs4Diabetics seems to be one of the bigger trainers. Also, check out the article "Could a Dog Save Your Life" or the article about the girl and dog in the above picture.

Oh, and one more thing...my Book Launch Giveaway is going on for two more days. Check this out to enter.