I was matched withFuji in July 2010 and we graduated in November 2011.
It was not an easy road for us to get there. Initially, Fuji was very subtle in her alerts (she still doesn’t really like to bringsel). Her alerts were more like attention-seeking behaviors rather than something overt. As a puppy raiser for Canine Companions for Independence (CCI), I was taught to ignore attention-seeking behaviors, as they are not desired in their service dogs.
So guess what? I missed quite a few of Fuji’s initial alerts. It dawned on me that these were her alerts one evening when I was driving to get dinner (after checking my blood sugar and finding it was low) and wondering WHY she had been bugging me so much a bit earlier, but did not alert me. DUH – she was alerting me, I just didn’t realize it!
Before we graduated as an official D4D team, Fuji ended up going back to D4D for more scent and alert training. She was away from me for about 4 1/2 months. During that time, she was with two finishing homes. The second finishing home found that she didn’t like the skinny bringsel, but loved the squeaker bringsel. I was so excited to finally be able to pick her back up in March. I was very happy to see how excited she was to see me after all that time. She alerted on me that night, or rather early the next morning, by jumping on the bed and lying across me. I got up to check my blood sugar, and it was 47. Good girl, Fuji!!! Treats for her and for me!
With lots of help and guidance from Mark and Hilee at D4D, and one of my new friends made at team training, Fuji and I were able to work together toward our graduation. It was a long road, but with perseverance we finally made our goal. Fuji is my constant companion, keeps me on track with my diabetes and lets me know when my blood sugar is low. I know everyone thinks this of his or her D4D dog, but Fuji is the BEST.