Sunday, April 22, 2012

Is a diabetic alert dog right for me?

Is a diabetic alert dog for me?

I think any tool in a diabetics arsenal can be a wonderful thing. I have been seeing a large amount of people who see diabetic alert dogs as a way to test less. This is not the case. I test even more now that I have my diabetic alert dog.

I have seen a growing number of people seeking out the dogs to help with their children's diabetes but there is so much that goes into having a diabetic alert dog. I spend time each week to keep up my dogs training. To take your dog out in public their is expectations of how they must be groomed. Their is the food, vet bills, and gear. I know their is a very delicate balance of all these aspect to take care on top of the diabetes.

These dogs are not cheap and need a proper balance of time to be a dog and working. Their is so many aspects that can affect if  your dog will work or not work. I know when I first started the process to get a diabetic alert dog I was out of options to help with my hypoglycemia unawareness. I tried the CGM's and that did not work well for me. I do have one now to help me with basal changes or for when I might have to leave Duchess at home. I am on a pump which did reduce the number of lows but not enough.

I am hoping that a person puts a great deal of thought before getting a diabetic alert dog. They are wonderful and mine has saved my life several times. I have had to fight to get access to stores, malls, grocery stores and movie theaters. It is not easy having a service dog. A percentage of the general public will ignore the patches you have on your vests. They will ask intrusive questions and you could be exposed to negativity because some people just don't understand. It has given me a great deal of time to educate the general public which I take every opportunity I can. I think these dogs are wonderful but will never be or should be the end all of your diabetic care.

There is also the aspects that most would not think of. When I walk into a grocery store people are constantly pointing me out to others. There is never a normal shopping trips like I had before I got her. They are more stressful because navigating a shopping cart and a service dog is not an easy thing. I am not a big fan of drawing attention to myself and it makes me very self conscious it is getting easier over time but I would love one day to feel a little more normal.

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