Thursday, June 12, 2014

Stepping up On Soapbox

I can see how an attractive option Diabetic alert dogs can seem to be especially with children. I have been seeing a growing number of people looking for diabetic alert dogs right after diagnosis. I think this is a real recipe for disaster for several reasons. I think you need to know your diabetes first before you add a diabetic alert dog to the mix. I think diabetes is stressful enough without adding constant training but that leads to the biggest issue. Right after diagnosis most patients not saying all should be feeling lows for the most part. In order to have a service dog you need to have a disability. If you can feel lows consistently you don't have a disability. I know you can get accommodations at work for diabetes in general but a diabetic alert dog should be used only when you can't feel lows. I have heard of people wanting a diabetic alert dog for highs but that also would not fall under a disability. I do get alerts for highs from Duchess for highs as well but I can feel highs or lows so she alerts for both. I do see how for a child it would seem like such a fun thing but not feeling low can be scary so in those situations I encourage a person to look into diabetic alert dogs when all other options have been explored. Not all diabetic alert dogs will alert at night and Duchess did alert when I first got her but I do not have consistent lows at night until recently. She does alert at night but not consistently enough. She has been on a roll recently which has been great and now I am just trying to keep it up.

          I am worried about all the ill trained dogs I have seen recently and how many families that I have seen looking into getting one who really don't necessarily need an alert dog except for at night which is problematic because there is quite a few who don't alert at night. I have also seen many people who think that diabetic alert dog will equal more restful nights but that is not really true because you will have a dog alerting at night to the blood sugar changes. Diabetic alert dogs equal a large amount of testing as well. I know these dogs are incredible but I know I would not be able to hold a job without Duchess alerting me to these lows. I know I have lost hours of time of work in the past because I went low and did not realize that I was low so I went untreated until I figured it out. I think it looks negatively on all of us when people who use a service dog who may not need one because it makes it look like we all really don't need a service dog. I think also all the people that get a service dog who don't keep up the training make us all look bad. I needed to get on my soapbox to say these things because it was driving me crazy not speaking up. I know I value the ability to be able to have Duchess more than many will realize. I know there is children and adults alike who need these dogs because the can't feel these dangerous lows but if you can feel your lows than I recommend looking into other options for the rest of us who depend upon them.


  1. I welcome you joining me on this soapbox. Truly I daily receive these calls, funny some of the people I tried to educate...refused to listen to me, got a dog now write blogs advising the very same stuff I tried to caution about... Humans we see, we want, we demand...

    1. Oh I know who you are talking about. Yeah they don't even have Hypoglycemia Unawareness either. I am just blown away at the expense they pay when a great deal of them can use a CGM which is much cheaper.