Diabetic service dogs

By Scarlet03 Latest Reply 2014-03-03 12:32:20 -0600
Started 2013-04-14 12:05:41 -0500

Hi everyone..

The dog I have in the picture is my dog lulu, she is not only my pet and I love her alot…but since Ive been on insulin for the last year she has done a remarkable thing. She lets me know when I need my insulin, or when my sugar is low or close to it. A couple of months back, I wanted to bring her with me and take her everywhere. Thinking I needed to pay out the wazoo for a trainer…I learned through the American Disabilites Association…that a dog if they are able to preform certain tasks that they dont need to be certified…My lulu already does that on her own…The only thing I had to train her for was manners in the outside world with going to stores etc etc… She is now registered as a service dog through the state and I have got a vest and a patch with a low cost…when I go alone in the store I dont have to worry about missing my insulin or dropping cause she is there to help me.

How many of you didn't know this?

22 replies

kbarrettx2 2014-03-03 12:32:20 -0600 Report

Thank you everyone for being so encouraging and supportive. It means a great deal. Still trying to figure out what to do. Would love to be able to train one of my four dogs and avoid the $15k I have been quoted.

kbarrettx2 2014-03-03 12:27:42 -0600 Report

Hi Ebony. Thank you so much for responding to my post. I have off the radar for a few weeks now. Feeling overwhelmed by life and all the medical challenges we face. Some days are just better then others. Thank you for your help and input. I looked into the organization Dogs for Diabetics and I am in So CA and they will not provide dogs to diabetics in So Ca. Shame really. The organization that is in my area charges $15k and that is just not in my budget. I will look into the videos though. Thank you for that tip. Do you currently have a dog? If so how is it working for you? Again thank you for taking the time to help me. It's so nice to have a place for support!

Ebony Faith
Ebony Faith 2013-04-24 22:22:31 -0500 Report

I have a diabetes assist dog. She was trained by an organization that provides assistance dogs at no cost. She is trained very much like a drug-bomb sniffing dog. When your blood sugar gets too low or two high, your breath odor changes. My dog can be on a different floor of my house and will come find me to alert me. Se can also retrieve juice, soda, meter and a cloth bag of candy in my briefcase. I don't get symptoms when my blood sugar gets low and I wouldn't be alive if I didn't have her.

There is no certification or registration required for service dogs and it makes it harder for the teams who come after you if you give in to someone demanding to see it. Places of business can only ask you two questions; is that a service dog and what tasks is it trained to do? If someone is attempting to deny me access, I tell them she is trained to pick up objects for me. It's none of their business what my disability is.

Congrats on owning a great dog.

Scarlet03 2014-02-24 20:33:19 -0600 Report

Being that my dog is small and she doesn't pick up stuff. But she can sense when my blood sugar hits 200 and over. I'm basically training her myself. After having neck surgery. I put her on hold for a bit. Now that I'm better. I can get back to where I left off.
Owning her for 5 years makes a difference. Cause she knows everything about me.

kbarrettx2 2014-02-14 10:35:26 -0600 Report

Hi. My name is Kelly and I am a type 1. I was diagnosed 18 years ago at 30 and in the last 4 years my diabetes has gotten more out of control and worsened to a point I didnt think possible. I have been looking into a dog and just can't begin to afford one. If I may ask how did you get your dog ? I've been told $15k for a dog and that is just not possible for me. I am desperate. I can no longer be left alone and that is almost impossible to accomplish. Any advise you have would be greatly appreciated. Thank you so much and Happy Valentines day.

Ebony Faith
Ebony Faith 2014-02-24 19:59:57 -0600 Report

Hi Kbarrettx2,
I got my diabetes assist dog from an organization called Can Do Canines. They provide assistance dogs at no cost to the participant other than a $50 administrative cost. (www.can-do-canines.org)They provide dogs to people in Minnesota, North and South Dakota, Iowa and Wisconsin. If that doesn't work, there is another organization in California called Dogs for Diabetics.
Otherwise if you think you might be able to train your dog, there is a video series called something like diabetes dog academy. It's a video series and they are about $30 each. The little I've seen they're not bad. Private message me and we can chat more.

Scarlet03 2014-02-14 11:00:27 -0600 Report

I've had her for 5 years. She was given to me from a friend of my daughter's. Since I started insulin in 2012 she somehow knew something was wrong. And to this day still alerts me. Just recently I had my doctor send a note to my state making her officially able to go with me everywhere

kangarue 2013-04-29 18:56:45 -0500 Report

what organization was it that trained your dog? i would like to find something around here for my dashie to help me.

davidlenn 2013-04-17 02:23:14 -0500 Report

How did you train her to recognize highs and lows? I'm thinking of getting a dog and would love for it to have this ability

Scarlet03 2013-04-17 03:23:55 -0500 Report

Well, Ive been on insulin for a year, and Ive had her for 4 years. Its going to sound silly, but at the start of taking insulin what she use to do was get on me and lick my face…and would bug me until I got up…and ate…

when I started short acting insulin last May, she would do this more frequently…the lowest Ive had with her is 82…its not exactly low…but on the edge…and the highest Ive had is no higher than 250…

These days when I need to eat or my insulin she'll lick my face and paw me before I need to eat…Its taken a year to work this out…

I take her everywhere I go now…and we were in walmart one day, and I wasn't low or high, but I needed my medication…what she does is she jumps up on me to lick my face to test my sugar…cause it was a while from the last time I had insulin…

I really can't explain it…but from what I understand…dogs can smell the chemistry change in our bodies…

And its different when I was taking pills…cause she never did that till I was on insulin…

Jim Edwards
Jim Edwards 2013-04-15 14:29:00 -0500 Report

If I remember right from the DOJ site, your do not need to have your dog registered, you do not need a vest, and you do not need to have it trained for $3000. The animal needs to assist you. My dog, Shadow, a collie/border collie mix goes a little nutsy when my sugar gets too low. Today while I was doing my taxes I guess I was in a daze. She came over, barked, poked at me with her nose and got me aware enough that I took some sugar in. After 15 minutes, she laid down. Her job was done.

Scarlet03 2013-04-15 15:14:25 -0500 Report

I have the vest on my dog for when I go into public places or a doctors office etc etc…This way there is no issue when I come in…and I dont have to explain myself…When I had to renew my dogs tags for her rabies shot…I mentioned what she did, and every year from now on its free to renew…Plus I trained her myself to behave in public…cause Cairn Terriers can be a bit of a handful, and not always good with children…

kangarue 2013-04-29 19:00:59 -0500 Report

how did you go about getting yours trained and getting the vest? I work with mine for being in public, one is a puppy and needs a LOT of work. Here in Tennessee I would have to have proof (vest) they were a working dog. How did you do that?

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2013-04-14 14:27:04 -0500 Report

Animals who have bonded well with there owners have the tendency to know when they are ill. Our dog would remind my sister to take her meds every night. I think it was because he followed her around the house and at a certain time if she wasn't in the kitchen to get her meds he would bark and make her follow him to the kitchen. Once there instead of going out he would bark at the area where she kept her meds. He was not trained to do this. Animals are far more intelligent than a lot of people.

Scarlet03 2013-04-14 14:35:54 -0500 Report

Very true, many people dont believe me when I tell people this, its the seeing is believing situation. I love my dog and she is my first Ive owned, I dont know what I would have ever done without her

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2013-04-14 19:49:37 -0500 Report

We have always had dogs and each dog had his own personality. Our father taught one of our dogs to always go to the front door when the smoke detector would go off. This same dog would not get up in the morning until he heard someones clock alarm. Sadly our Jack passed away in my arms last June. We are still looking for a dog similar to him.

GabbyPA 2013-04-14 12:43:45 -0500 Report

This is a great story. We have had discussions about service dogs before, but non like this one. She is very special and I'm glad that she is there for you.

Scarlet03 2013-04-14 12:47:07 -0500 Report

I got her from a friend of my daughters…from off the streets 4 years ago…she'd been abandoned by her previous owners…and she never likes being at home alone, so it made perfect sense to take her with me…could say she's my little gift from God…

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