As you may or may not know, my boyfriend is a Type 1 diabetic. He found this out at age 10 and has lived with it for 27 years. I have now been with Shayne for just under 2 years and I have done a lot of learning. He wears an insulin pump which delivers short-acting insulin 24 hours a day through a catheter placed under the skin. He also has to monitor his blood sugar levels frequently. He needs to make sure he is not too high or low. Both are bad and make him uncomfortable.
When you are low blood sugar it is also called hypoglycaemia. Some of the symptoms of this include: seizures, unconsciousness and dysphoria (most common for Shayne). The worst of it happens while he is asleep, either napping or during the night and it can be very scary for both of us. When this happens, I shut off his pump, (try to) give him sugar and if it is too hard to get his sugar levels up, I call 911.
After doing a lot of research I have learned that there is such a thing as a Diabetic Alert Guide Dog. This is great news! If we get approved, I won’t have to worry about Shayne having low blood sugar and suffering the symptoms, when I’m not around. The dog will be able to sense low blood sugar and alter him or go get help. This is what the website says:
Diabetic Alert Dog Guides assist people aged 10 or older who have type 1 diabetes with hypoglycemic unawareness. They are trained to detect sudden drops in their handler’s blood sugar through scent and alert them so that they can ingest something sweet. They can go get help within the home or activate an alert system if needed. Their ability to detect and react to hypoglycemic episodes helps their handler’s avoid loss of consciousness and subsequent life-threatening effects. Ultimately, these specially trained Dog Guides provide increased safety, security and independence.
Diabetic Alert Dog Guides can be identified by their red harness.
So, we are going to work on an application and hopefully we get approved! It may be a long process. Do you know anyone who has a Diabetic Alert Dog? If so, I’d love to talk to them! Wish us luck!