Tuesday, May 6, 2014

DAD's and What I Have Learned

I know when I started to get Duchess my Diabetic Alert Dog I was so excited but also scared in many ways. The process took quite a while and there was going to be some huge changes in my life which I knew would happen. What I wish I knew when I was looking for a DAD would be numerous things below is a list.

1. How difficult it can be if you decide to take your DAD to an interview because most employers don't want to hire disabled people. I had best of luck having Duchess wait in my friends car while I was in the interview which worked out for me. I could not let them know I had medical Issues.

2. My workplace would not be accepting of my service dog at work. I know in general there are very few service dogs and that makes the process even worse in many ways. Texas is not a very service dog friendly state.

3. I would have issues in College with professors who questioned why I had Duchess until they saw her alert to a low that I had no symptoms of except the professor could see  a change in my eyes. After that things were better. I had to get exceptions to have extended test taking time in case I had a low during a test which did happen. They pulled my medical records and it was never an issue.

4. I spend a great deal of time training and retraining Duchess. I knew there would be work but I had not idea of how much work it would entail.

5. How difficult dealing with the general public can be at times. There has been some incidents of really nasty conversations because they did not believe I was disabled.

6. There is a very delicate balance of work and time off to keep a DAD working. Took me a while to find our balance when I started back to working.

7. That a Diabetic Alert Dog can have bad days like we do. There is days that Duchess does better than others. For the most part she is great but at times she wants to do other things than her job.

8. Having a dog at restaurants or malls etc can be difficult to manage with big crowds and such with worrying about the dogs safety. Duchess has more pairs of boots, vests, leashes etc to help keep her safe and taken care of. So many things need to be taken care of.

9. Grooming standards need to be followed so I brush frequently and bath her frequently so it does take up quite a bit of time but worth the energy spent. Keeping products available if she get wet while going places. A great deal of pre planning.

10. How it felt the first time Duchess missed a low. A DAD will miss some lows but It is so unexpected how you feel. I proceeded to have her smell my hand and arm and she then realized I was low. It can be so easy to forge that yes at the end of the day Duchess is still a dog.

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