So, you think you should get a Diabetic Alert Dog (DAD). Congratulations, so do 90% of the other people that have Type 1 Diabetes! It is my hope through a series of blogs that I can help explain and hopefully answer some of the questions that you have about getting a DAD. I will be choosing topics that I felt were important to me during my search for the right organization to train our DAD and I promise to give the most honest and detailed answers possible in hopes of answering any questions that you may have about this process.
Why do YOU want a diabetic alert dog? Most people seem to think that getting one of these dogs is simple. That couldn’t be farther from the truth. If you think that it would be cute and fun, or trendy to have a service animal with you simply because they might be able to help you if and when your blood sugars go out of whack then a diabetic alert dog is clearly not for you. If you want a diabetic alert dog because you know that you can devote countless hours of your day caring for this incredibly talented, hard working, devoted dog that could alert you to a potentially life threatening blood sugar then you might be ready to look into getting one of these amazing dogs.
How are you supposed to know if a Diabetic Alert Dog is right for you!?
Good question, and I do not think that there is really one clear cut answer. After our 3 year old daughter (now 7 1/2) was diagnosed, I knew, in the deepest part of my heart that getting her a diabetic alert dog was the right choice for our family. With my extensive background raising Labrador Retrievers, working in the veterinary field for 10+ years, and managing a dog boarding facility for 6 years, I just knew that we could do this and that a diabetic alert dog would be an appropriate fit within our family. I then spent an entire year researching different companies and asking hundreds of questions, which I will go into more detail about in upcoming blogs. The one thing that you must do before you even consider starting your research, is to look at your life, give this potential life changing decision some good old fashion soul searching. Take a good, honest look at your day to day schedule, your family dynamic, your nights, your sleep, your kids sleep, your kids schedules, their sports schedules, your family functions, your potential vacations, your environment, your schools, your community support etc. and anything else that you feel is an important part of your day-to day life and truly ask yourself, “Can we bring in a diabetic alert dog and devote the necessary time and effort that it takes to maintain not only the animal but the service that it would provide our family among everything else we have going on in our lives?” If you can honestly answer yes, without reservation, then you are ready to start your extensive research process into the possibility of partnering with one of these amazing, life saving animals. You may also find, after considering all of the aspects of your life that this service animal will affect, that it may not be the right fit for your family and that is OK! Diabetic alert dogs are not for everyone.
If you have decided that you are 100% devoted and are ready to take the next step but you are not sure where to start then stay tuned, in my next blog I will walk you through my research process!