I was driving to work and thinking about what all goes into a diabetic alert dog. The amount of training, the amount of teaching, the tears, the fears, and all the different ways it can be done. I came to a very simple conclusion...IT TAKES EVERYONE being committed. Not just the diabetic, but the diabetics family, friends, and trainers. NO ONE does this alone and when they try to do it alone they often end up just that alone. There are a million ways to train a dog and if you ask any trainer THEIR WAY IS RIGHT. We by nature want to control dogs...we want to control diabetes as well... with neither of them does that work real well. We can teach, bend, mold, respond but both have MINDS OF THEIR OWN!
It takes everyone bringing SOMETHING to the table and US BEING OPEN to that to make the full picture come together. The thing is it isn't a still picture it is more like an ongoing movie or video. People, places, and ideas come and go all the time. We interact, we laugh, we love, we share, and we go on living our "picture". My "picture" is not your "picture".....it is sometimes a shared screen but we are each separate.
In my dog "life" I have had the PRIVILEGE and HONOR to be around some pretty amazing trainers in their own right. John M., Amy G., Robert R., Edie S., Evelyn S., Mary Ann N., Anne I., Gosia S., Tom and Katie Q. and I am sure I missing A LOT. As much as I admire them and like how they train I am not them. I can only borrow ideas and methods and mold them into methods that are useful for me.
In my diabetes "life" I have Kim M., Amy G., and a WHOLE SLEW of wonderful diabetics who are from all around the world and online. I can admire each of them. I think they do amazing jobs of dealing with the diabetes....but I am not them. I have to take bits and pieces and borrow them to manage my own diabetes.
In my DAD "life" there are the breeders of my wonderful dogs, but there is also all of the wonderful teams that challenge me each and every day to think outside of the box. To find solutions to problems to help others. Shana E., Trista H. Charity R. Craig F., and Theresa F. are but just a few who have pushed and molded me and my ideas around DAD's. They all live with diabetes in some way. They all get the diabetes....but even more than that they are MY FRIENDS! They are the get down and dirty..thick and thin..no matter what happens I love em kind of friends. There are so many DAD teams that I work with and know of that I cant even begin to list them all but all of them come to mean something very special to me and each one of them has brought my a gift of learning something new about our 4 legged friends!
Now having said all of that......IT HAS TAKEN EVERY ONE OF THE ABOVE PEOPLE AND ALL OF THE ONES THAT I FORGOT TO MENTION for me to be who and what I am. For my dogs to be who and what they are. Our dogs and ourselves are at this moment the sum of all of our previous experiences and every one of those experiences.
So for those of you who are just starting this journey never ever discount and information that you may hear, see, or experience! It may not apply to this dog but somewhere down the line it will apply to another dog. See each interaction as an opportunity to learn more and don't forget to thank your friends and family!