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Diabetes Alert Dog Feed

They say they know what diabetes dogs are smelling, but I know there is more to it then that.

I have a diabetes alert dog.  We trained each other.  So this article: says that scientists have finally figured out what the dogs are detecting.

She’s been helping me for years and after being without her for  a week, I know even more what is going on.

Yes, she detects the lows, but she also PREVENTS them.  She learned to figure how just how much exertion and how much food I’ve eaten goes together and she’ll modify my behavior so that I don’t go low.

Weird, yes, but it works for us.

My next experiment in this realm is to train the next dog.

May 23, 2016

Because my husband doesn't believe Dulce helps me and doesn't want to be seen in public with her, I leave her at home when I go with him.

Today I had my first low in a long time and it was nasty. We are on a cruise and I had eaten breakfast and drank carbs though I did cover part of it with insulin.

Yes it had been some time since I eaten and yes I had walked some but I didn't think it was much.

We were sitting in a bus seeing the sights when my CGMS went off. I felt fine, so I cussed at it and ignored it. I think I ignored it several times but finally did a finger stick.

My blood sugar finally went up but it was scary, we were in the middle of nowhere with no cell service.

May 23, 2016

Service Dog Victory–Yoga

I have been doing Yoga since we got back from the cruise and of course, Dulce has been accompanying me.  We had some issues, other participants didn’t realize that the heat wasn’t harmful.   Even had to get a letter from the vet. 


She handles the yoga fine, just like everything.  If my blood is fine, she naps, otherwise she is aggitated.


We went through the same progression there as we have everything else – started out with her in the cage, now she’s got her own mat and she’s on leash – though I think I’ll take a towel next time.  Your average dog bed is pretty heat retaining.  By the way, the only time she’s off leash is at home and at dog agility  -- one of our issues.


Also by the way, I’ve been working on our taxes, and my income is sufficient for me to live on if I had to – one of my goals throughout my adult life.  I’ve only had a few time periods – when I went back to school to get my teaching certificate and the last few months when that wasn’t true.

Retiring Dulce

While her alerts are great, dealing with her and the public is just too stressful.

Tara writes about how stress Duchess has been for her and I honestly do not have the health issues that she has.

Still will always still work when we are together but that is the type of dog she is.

Diabetes Dog Update

I was asked for an update today so sent out the following:

I think well. 

From a medical standpoint my official A1C was 8.1 when I started working with the dog   à I got a Bayer A1C At Home test and it read 6.7 yesterday.  I sent that to my doctor and he was quite impressed.  Since I have spent two years over 9.0 and we were both upset about that, I’m doing much better.  We’ll know better when we get his lab results back, I see him in October.  It’s always best to compare lab results to lab results.

The biggest issue is that everyone wants to pet her.  I explain to them that it is against district policy and against service dog rules and they still pout.  Sometimes people get to her before I can get I also mention how tired she would be at the end of the day.  That helps some.  The cheerleaders wanted her to come to the pep rally and I thought that would be too much noise.  They were disappointed.  I also had students who wanted her to come to the game tonight which I also think would be too much.  I also don’t take her into the cafeteria.  Usually no call for me to be there but yesterday needed some lunch.

She spends her day in the cage, it’s next to my desk.  She is restless when my blood sugar is high – this hasn’t been a good week between meet the parent and a late meeting last night, I haven’t been to the gym, so I have been a tad high.

I’ve found out how she alerts when she is in a cage at a meeting – at the AP Kickoff she kept rattling the door.  They told us they would have food and they feed us cookies and brownies from Jason’s.  I’m learning to bring my own food.

I have a few students who are allergic or afraid of dogs.  She doesn’t seem to bother them.  One student in particular is one of my favorites and I thought he was teasing me about being afraid.  He really is, but as long as he doesn’t see her he’s fine.  The others are even less vocal about it.  Most of the day the kids don’t see her.

Bathroom isn’t an issue.  She usually doesn’t go at lunch, usually goes during my planning period.

I’ve taken her small cage to student assemblies.  For staff meetings I’ve just taken her, and she settles down fairly quickly, unless my blood sugar is high.

So far, she’s been to Conrad for the kickoff after school, and to Buckner after school.  When I have to go somewhere else, I do tell them she’s coming.

DAD changes the parameters

It’s because I’m a drug dog handler and I know what to expect in the drug dog world.  You train a dog to find marijuana, and it finds marijuana.  Train it to find meth, and it finds meth.  Okay, you get the occasional prescription drug by mistake because its related chemically, but you get what I mean.

So I train my drug dog to alert on blood sugar over 240.  She does really great at finding samples I’ve collected at over 240.  Then the silly dog starts alerting when I’m 180 and I need insulin.  <huh?>

She has been doing it for the past four weeks.

Pulled it off again tonight.  We’re finishing up dog class – she starts tugging at the leashes -- and to be honest, I wouldn’t have been surprised if I was low, but no, in the 180s and short 3 units according to the meter.  Probably dehydrated since we were doing agility and I was running two dogs in the Texas summer heat.  Took the insulin, drank some water, sat in the car for a bit to cool off in the A/C and felt much better.

And yes, I’m praising and accepting those alerts, and scratching my head every time she does them, because honestly, SHE’S RIGHT, but it isn’t what I trained.

And she’s yet to alert when I didn’t need insulin or sugar.

Busy Week

I have posted a few notes, but it’s been a really busy week.  I left Dulce at home on Monday, the first day of school.  We didn’t get full official approval until after noon on Monday anyway, and I think that not having her there was a good decision.

She was there all day the rest of the week.  A few people had some concerns, but I think most of them were resolved very quickly.  She has been on her best behavior, only peeing the minute we get out of the building at the end of the day.

When my blood sugar is normal, she snoozes.  When it is out of range, she alerts – she did on Tuesday afternoon and on Wednesday.  My blood sugar was in the 130 most of the day on Thursday and even lower today, but no crashes.  Just nice even blood sugar.

I’m trying to get into some good routines – like drink some slim fast before we do errands, etc. at lunch.  I have a tendency to want her outside, even though she hasn’t peed then, before I take care of myself.

My lapband is a little tight right now, so I really can’t eat anything solid until my off period, which is okay.  Right now, I’m making 4th period my off period and 6th period my lunch.

My biggest problem:  people who want to pet her.  Can you imagine what it would be like if every student pet her?  She would be exhausted by the end of the day.  As it is, her show dog training suites her well, she likes to be admired.

Dulce should be going to school tomorrow

Though I did tell my principal he could say no, if he thought it wasn’t a good day.

I do think that today wouldn’t have been good as much as I missed her.  I’ve missed her most of last week, so there you go.

I have paperwork from the district allowing her as a Diabetes Alert Dog on a three month trial basis, to be reevaluated then. 

Personally that is more than I expected and very fair.

I did have to correct the paperwork.  Since it was written she has been reliably alerting lows, and they got her name wrong, but I really don’t care about the name.

I also go to talk to the parent of my one of my students who has poorly controlled diabetes.  They have labs, and he is very much interested in getting help for his son.  Seems that he has been having seizures lately.


Decisions Decisions

I’m waiting on my school district to decide if Dulce can come to school with me as a diabetes alert dog. 

I talked with my counselor about it last night, and have made some decisions on her help.  I am going to continue working with her, training her, and using her even if they don’t let me use her at school.

Here’s the deal.  Since I started working with her, my A1C is better.  My over all blood sugar is better.  My fasting blood sugar is better.  Under 140 today, before Dulce it was lucky to be under 180. 

I know for the past two school years, my blood sugar control has sucked, even though I have started out each day wanting good control.  It’s not that I have said – screw this.  Though I admit there are some days I didn’t test at all as it was too much freaking trouble.  But I didn’t wake up saying, I’m not going to control my diabetes today.  It was usually – well, I missed this test, I’ll catch up later today and later never happened.

By the way, dealing with medical professions can be exhausting.  Especially the ones that don’t have a clue about diabetes.  She had no idea that lows come with control and that you can’t prevent them.  Just like you really can’t prevent the odd highs.  Of course, I had to explain that during the meeting with the school committee but it’s less frustrating talking with lay people as you know they don’t get it.

Traveling with a Service Dog

Dulce and I are leaving in a little bit for Duluth Minnesota for a teacher conference (from Dallas).  It will be interesting.

But I entered an agility trial, not realizing until I went to enter it in the calendar that it was the same weekend as #GraceHopper2013 and had to immediately cancel.

Then I realized I was going to have to travel with Dulce.  Having her under the seat won’t be a problem, it will just be another cage to her, but CPAP, laptop, etc.  Then I remembered I went to Portland with netbook, Kindle and Windows Phone, and have better setup now.

In fact, right now, I have CPAP, Kindle Fire, Nexus 7, and Windows Phone in the CPAP  and I think there is still room for the netbook but that might be over kill.

I’m going Southwest, and they do check bags free.  I think for that trip, I will check a suitcase.