Friday, March 8, 2013

Boarding the D.A.D train...(diabetic alert dogs)

“My heart is warm with the friends I make,
And better friends I'll not be knowing,
Yet there isn't a train I wouldn't take,
No matter where it's going.”
― Edna St. Vincent Millay

Doesn't this pic above (Angelina Jolie and her entourage) look like a good time?

Well, this weekend our DAD organization has a field trip on a train ride with about 43 people and well...counting dogs?! Probably over 50!

We're sending our T1 tween on that ride! 
Yes, as in me, my hot hubby, 3 body guards + multiple children from around the globe will not accompany him the entire way...

I can't think of a better trip for Sean to go on than with 16+ other experienced TYPE 1 families, plus trainers and Diabetic Alert Service Dogs....

Oh yes, Diabetic Alert Dogs...
Have you been introduced to these animals? Sean was about 4 months into his diagnosis...He was collecting scent samples (when his blood sugar was low he'd collect his scent and seal it for trainers) to help these animals help other kids. 
I had just been diagnosed with an auto-immune illness; battling symptoms for 4yrs so I was overwhelmed mentally and emotionally by all the health crisis between the two of us. However, it warmed my heart to see Sean participate, full knowing we weren't about to bring one home for him. NO WAY. 


while being shown how to collect scent samples...
he was 77, then suddenly dropped to 60-something and the puppy noticed/alerted.

Thankfully we were already in good hands... Sean's dad's best friends cousins monkey...jk. Are you still here...? His dads' best friend since Preschool married a woman who had been training her dog 10+ years ago for mobility service. I remembered this & a conversation she had with me during my health struggles... She talked about service dogs, and how she would help if my mobility ever got to that point... SO WE TALKED WHEN SEAN GOT DIAGNOSED, and she began helping us find an organization to help...

If you were one of the few and brave to read my previous post "Life in the D.O.C." you may have learned about my CASTING NET habit... 

Months and months I began to facebook search, email strangers personal questions...No really. Skippy straight I did! It was like an "Underworld" at the time...Who were these people? Where did they get their dogs? DO THEY WORK?! A few bold and brave wrote me back...and then, (((gasp))) we became FB friends and we hadn't even MET in PERSON!

I launched Sean's facebook page and friended strangers, photo stalked and uploaded the little I had in order to BEGIN SOMEWHERE... Hadn't even applied, but looking back- we were parked at the train station, for sure.

The following months we went on a FIELD TRIP! Much like the one coming up this weekend...Met dads, DADS, moms, adults, kids and trainers with Type 1, with dogs, etc... And I probably drove them all nuts as I began asking questions and the answers back had us entering the station.

photo courtesy of Frank Wisneski

One mom in particular had battled a health crisis like none other, amidst their families' journey in getting a Diabetic Alert Dog. Her words on the support system she felt from not just the Organization/ trainers, but of the dog, eased my anxieties. I began to see the possibilities rather than the limitations...
A TYPE 1 ADULT shared with me how significant her dog was in her life, able to save her many times from lows she would have otherwise been unaware of...

And in the middle of all this Sean was alerted AGAIN. Another dog just about 10ft away caught a 220 HIGH.

Well shoot, where do we buy our tickets?! It was a done deal, the excitement was there, but the future was still unknown...HOW MUCH?! HOW are we going to DO THIS?! WHEN CAN WE HAVE HIS DOG...
But we boarded the train!

Now many of those friends I cast nets to have began online support groups for diabetic alert dogs... for first timer info/support in making your decision. 
And yes, where there is something amazing, there is also the opposite... So BUYERS BEWARE.

* PUPPY RAISING a dog yourself (training tools, support system, etc) is yours to consider.
* A "STARTED DOG" from a reputable organization is also an option...(some of the puppy stage is handled before they come home)
* and a "FINISHED DOG" (which means mature, public access ready) to which you still have training and tasks to maintain in order for it to be successful...
Resource link on 
What do these terms mean? DAD Lingo 101****ALL OPTIONS best discussed by a PROFESSIONAL who has been able to look and assess your family, your situation, and your abilities!**** 

-May have to be another blog topic one day! Visit this page of FUNDING IDEAS... AND
For now, wherever you are in the stage of this train ride, please don't forget this is YOUR JOURNEY. ENJOY!

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