I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes when I was 5 yrs old. That was in 1970. I’ve seen a lot of changes in the management of diabetes from both a patient perspective and as a Registered Nurse providing resources and education to people with diabetes. About five years ago, my endocrinologist told me about the Dogs for Diabetics program. At the time, however, I couldn’t imagine having a dog with me 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. My doctor thought that the program would be good for me because the dogs are trained to alert when the diabetic’s blood sugar is dropping. I have hypoglycemic unawareness, or the inability to tell that my sugar is dropping or is dangerously low. I still wasn’t convinced that this was the answer for me. That changed however about three years ago when a very scary thing happened.
It was a beautiful fall day and the weather was wonderful. After dinner, my boyfriend and I went for a walk just to get out and spend some time together and get a little exercise. We got back home and he went out to the garage to look for something. My daughter, Ashley, was sacked out on the couch. She had just gotten home after driving back from LA, having spent some time with friends at Disneyland. I went upstairs and started to run a bath. I couldn’t wait to go soak and unwind. I remember then hearing my little Yorkshire terrier, yipping downstairs, and my daughter calling to me, “Mom, water!” I couldn’t however, really process what she was saying or even move. Darren had come running upstairs and found me standing in the bedroom. I didn’t respond to him. He recognized that I was having an insulin reaction and got me some grape juice. He had turned off the bath water that had overflowed the bathtub and was leaking through the ceiling downstairs. This was the turning event for me. I was thankful that I hadn’t been in the tub and that my family was there to rescue me.
The following week, I had completed the application for the D4D program and talked to my doctor about it. He was happy to hear that I was looking into it, especially after the serious insulin reaction that I had. I was accepted into the program in the next couple of months and after completing the program, I went home with my new companion Bradley. He is a beautiful yellow Labrador retriever. (He is so beautiful that his nickname is Cooper after Bradley Cooper.) He has been invaluable to me in helping to manage my blood sugars and has been a true lifesaver on many occasions. I am so thankful to have him. I can’t say enough about what a wonderful program Dogs for Diabetics is and that it is made up of group of truly interested and supportive people.