Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Eve

photo (7)

I recently received this in the email from a friend of mine with the following …”disclaimer: my husband indicates that this image is not theologically correct.“ya think” Ha ha “

It is cute…It is funny….but here is where I am going to get weird… how really incorrect is this theologically?

I have been really really sick this week….because it is our busiest time at work I have been trying to push through it…well lets just say that didn’t work so well.  My BG is running between 200 and 500 and I have A LOT of insulin on board and well I am just a little goofy right now so bear with me.

From a pure religious point of view this could be taken as being very irreverent.  I don’t mean it to be that way at all.  Well I do think it might be a little irreverent to have the small shih tzu looking thing as baby Jesus……simply because they aren’t known for their nose work.  I guess it could happen that a shih tzu could become a Diabetic Alert Dog but I still think it would take A LOT of work.

But I do think this picture is somewhat theologically correct in that I truly do believe that service dogs…diabetic alert dogs in particular are GIFTS straight from Heaven to us morans here on earth that struggle to get the real meaning.  Think about it….what if God did send Bravo and Radar to me as a gift on loan to help save me from myself ( my body and sometimes bad choices)?????  I am not saying they are Christ but I am thinking they do have some Christ like tendencies.   They help me in good times and in bad.  They guide me to make better choices about treatment in that if I don’t they are going to be ever and always present and bugging me to be better at it. Hmmm am I digging a hole?  Is lightening going to strike??

If I take that thinking a little further training and being with a DAD is often like trying to sort out all of the religions here on earth.   Many trainers of these dogs (including ALL dog sports) think that there is ONLY ONE WAY to find God.  They often believe that their way is the ONLY way and if you don’t do it that way then you are bad or your dog is bad or your methods are bad.  You can only get the desired results by following the correct program! 

Like I said I am really sick right now so my thinking is goofy.  Bear with me…I have watched many VERY SUCCESSFUL and VERY sought after dog trainers do extremely well.  What I have observed is that SOME of them follow a particular program and when they get a dog that doesn’t learn the way they teach they wash the dog from the program and say the dog is worthless.  The dog gets somewhere else and all of the sudden the dog starts to succeed because how it was being taught changed.  The dog becomes successful.  I have watched others trainers who perhaps arent as big name take the time to figure out HOW the dog learns and believes that NO MATTER what they are going to stick it out.  They love the dogs enough to go the distance with them to help pull out all of the things that a dog is meant to be to a human.  To me me that is what almost any Religion tries to do with their followers…pull the absolute best out of us morans that are trying to find the right path in life.  Different Religions just ask the questions slightly different….EVENTUALLY we find the one that works best for us, that helps us ask the right question, but they do help us get to the RIGHT answer….which is that GOD LOVES US ALL. For us Christians He loves us so much that He sent HIS Son to us as baby.  But even among Christians they fight and think THEIR way is the only way.

I gotta be honest I am not always sure of all of the answers about religion or dog training.  I know that God loves me and I know that I love dogs enough that I am going to treat them as the gift they are to me and love them enough to build a STRONG relationship.  Just like my faith sometimes it takes LOVE and sometimes it takes DISCIPLINE but it always take UNDERSTANDING.   We are each different and dogs are each different.  When someone tells me they have all of the answers or that there is ONLY ONE WAY to do something..I usually don’t argue much…I learn as much as I can from them and then I run to the nearest exit.

I don’t know why I am writing this tonight on Christmas Eve but these are the thoughts on my heart tonight.  Before I go to sleep I am going to pray and Thank God for sending His Son for us and I am going to Thank Him for the most wonderful gifts I have in my life…my friends, my family and my dogs.  All 3 are gifts from Heaven and all 3 have taught me something in life.

Merry Christmas to you all….may you find your own path to what you are meant to be…but remember your path is not built alone.  Think outside the box and be thankful for what you have.  May God bless us all!

Christmas 2010 103Waiting and Watching   The meaning of the season…………

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Puzzle at 5 months

Christmas 2010 129

Puzzle is growing up!  She is no longer the cute cuddly puppy that she once was but is now turning into a busy active dog.  She has lost all of her baby teeth on one side of her mouth and the other side they are loose.

Puzzle is one of the best puppies I have ever had the privilege to raise. She is an awesome alerter and a joy to be around.  She is starting to hit what I call the terrible 2’s in dog terms but even this phase is MILD compared to what I have seen from others I have raised.  She is just a very sensitive and loving dog that wants so badly to please.  She is young but the pieces are all there!

She does well with scent games and does even better with real time scent.  I have had a horrible sinus infection. With diabetes when you are ill your BG often runs higher. On Sunday no matter what I did I could not get my BG below 200.  With 4 alert dogs in the house it was getting annoying with all the alerting, so I put every one but Bravo in their port-a-kennel.  I am laying in my recliner when I hear whining from my bedroom.  I go in and Freedom, Radar, and Puzzle are all 3 whining and moaning in the kennels.   Pretty soon I could only hear one dog whining…the whining gets loader and almost sounds like a moan. It continues to get loader when all the sudden it turns into howling.  Not howling like a bored dog in a back yard. I go back into the bedroom and here is Puzzle with both paws half way up the kennel door, while laying down. As I bent down to see what the problem was she throws her head back and lets loose with this howl, moan, groan, yawn combo.  Since this was a sound I had not heard before I opened her kennel door and she jets out and sits right at my feet and STARES up at me.  She then paws at my leg.  I reach down pet her and tell her thank you.  I then put her back in her kennel.  About a half hour goes by……..when she starts doing it again.  I have got to get a video of this….it is a sound that I have never heard a dog make before.  Cheveyo (her dad) has a sound that is unusual as well but this was even different that that.  It was almost like she was in pain because I was sick.

Anyhow I am really digging this pup.  She is now ready to start doing some more rigorous obedience and public access stuff.  I have raised a lot of puppies in the last 15 years…but this one is trying really hard to crawl into my heart!  She is a very special dog who I know is going to be for a very special person!

Christmas 2010 126 

How can you not love this face!!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, December 20, 2010

The Dentist

What can a dentist have to do with a Diabetic Alert Dog forum??

Well today I had to go to the dentist….I LOVE my dentist but I hate the profession…….sorry but I once had a very horrible experience with a dentist who is currently in prison for dealing drugs….he drilled into my sinus cavity and in general caused a LOT of pain and suffering.  You turn on that drill in a dentist office and I am like a deer in the headlights of your car!

Sorry I digressed a little….my dentist is a really cool guy that I originally met when he called me to get some dog training.  He became a hero when he fixed some of the handiwork work of the druggie dentist that scarred me for life!  Dr Toone is a good man.  He likes dogs, seems to be a good dad, and a good husband, and in general gets life….I just don’t like going to the dentist…so therefore I don’t see him but about once a year or so and then only after I am nagged into it.  I know me being a fraidy cat about dentist  doesn’t fit the the rest of me.

Today at the dentist I was filling him in on my life of the last year.  He was very interested in hearing what diabetic alert dogs are and what they can do.  With both elbows in my mouth he makes a profound statement…”KC….I do believe you have found your purpose in life.” He goes on to say..”KC you are one of the most honest, down to earth people, who knows dogs and loves people, and you can combine all of those gifts”. “ That is just incredible…what do you see as you role?”  Through all the drool, my mind is racing.  What am I going to do?  We chat more about the various DAD agencies and what some of them are charging for a dog and how it seems out of reach for some.  My brain is still racing…it is almost putting thoughts out as fast as he little suction thing is sucking up the drool. He is done, gives me lots of things to think about and I hit the road.

What is my purpose in this?  What more can I do???  How can I help make a difference?  Don’t you just love those seemingly innocent moments that turn your life upside down?

What Am I?

For those of you who dont know this yet I am officially diagnosed as a Type 1 diabetic.  Late onset but still type 1, which means that almost everything I have learned to this point about diabetes is now null and void.  This is auto immune and my body has a mind of its own.

I have been struggling to keep perspective….I KNOW a lot about Type 2 diabetes and while it is good information to know some of it doesn’t apply to Type 1.  Type 1 is is the simplest definition is my body has decided to stop producing any insulin and is attacking itself.  You know outside enemies are hard but when your own body is a spy working against you IT BITES!

For a long time they really didn’t know what I was….now they have decided I was/am in a “honeymoon” phase of type one.  It is an extended “honeymoon”.  I really want to know what genius come up with that particular term for this phase of T1 diabetes. May I just say at this point if I married diabetes and it treated me like diabetes has….I would have taken it to the west desert, killed it, and hid all remains!!!!  Come on……a honeymoon does NOT constitute in my head what my last year and half of life has been! UGH

Anyhow…all of us like/dislike labels. Sometimes we agree with the, sometimes we disagree but human nature is to categorize things. So for right now my label is T1 diabetes.  YES ADULTS CAN GET IT but no matter the age NONE of us want it.

A friend of mine has a 6 year old girl with T1 diabetes.  Her and her mom were cuddling on the bed when she asked her mom this question “If you could have 1 wish what would it be?”  Her mom replies “I don’t know, what about you?” all the while thinking this should be good….it is close to Christmas.   The little girl looks up and says “I would wish I didn’t have diabetes”.  How do you answer that?

Well I know what I have but like that little girl……….I wish I didn’t but since I do….how about using it to help people.  I have an unusual perspective in that I also have diabetes and I also know a far amount about dogs and I love to help people.  If I have to have it then I am not going to have it in vain.

Sometimes My Heart Aches….Part 2

Recently I have fielded many questions from various places about diabetic alert dogs. DAD’s are a lot  of HARD WORK…but in my opinion they are worth the amount of effort it takes.  Compared to dealing with diabetes DAD’s are easy…on top of diabetes it can seem insurmountable.  Honestly not everyone with diabetes is a good fit for a DAD….not every DAD is a good fit for that particular person.  It is a team thing and there is so much that we don’t know. 

I currently have 5 alerting dogs at my house at various stages in training. I have Bravo, Radar, Puzzle, Freedom, and Maxx.  Two of those five are permanent fixture, the other 3 are here for a time….for a reason and for a season.  There is a lot of humor when I go high or low and the dogs are all alerting.  The mental picture of the stare, the pawing, the smacking on the head, the howling in the kennel, and the bringsel’s or meters in mouth is FUNNY…but when you are low and still trying to deal with diabetes… also can make you ONRY!  Sometimes I can hardly get to the meter or the treatment of the low or high with all the dogs around me.  It is very interesting if you like dogs and dog behavior.

I live, eat, and breath dogs. Thank goodness….but I have to tell you I really don’t like deciding where dogs go.  It hurts my heart.  I LOVE training dogs.  I love being with the dogs.  I love what they teach me and watching them grow….but WHO AM I TO DECIDE WHO GETS THESE DOGS??????  It is frustrating to put your heart and soul into a dog and then for whatever reason the dog won’t do what it is suppose to do for the new person.  It is frustrating when you get calls like….”I am not going to dialysis because it just isn’t worth it but I NEED a diabetic alert dog.  It is frustrating when you spend time and energy in training and the dogs are treated like a soldier and because they didn’t take the order …they are bad dog or you are a bad trainer. 

Monday, November 22, 2010

Sometimes my heart aches ….part one

Sometimes people want to ask 50 questions about diabetes and living with it.  Sometimes they think they have a right to tell me what to do.  Sometimes they make some of the most stupid  comments.

This lady gives you a view into the life of living with diabetes.  Check it out! 


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Getting Your Own DAD

This may be long and drawn out but I have some thoughts that I want to share about getting a DAD. These thoughts come from being a dog trainer, being a diabetic, being a social worker, and just general thoughts. They may be right, they may be wrong, but they are thoughts to put out and let folks sit with. They are not directed at anyone.......just plain old thoughts coming from where I sit at this moment.
First off, If you are wanting a DAD as an end other words you think that a DAD will solve all your problems with night time issues YOU SHOULD NOT GET A DOG. A dog is a tool in the arsenal bag against this crappy disease! Dogs have LOTS and LOTS of needs, they are living , feeling beings. They do not interpret emotion as we do (at least we dont think so at this time) but they do feel and think!
If you are someone who tends to buy their way through life.....A DAD is not for you. Somethings in this world have to be earned through hard work, sweat, and effort. Some things we learn and earn through TRIAL and EFFORT. We make mistakes, but we pick back up and TRY AGAIN!
As someone who has trained ALOT of dogs and had MANY MANY satisfied people, I will tell you this....there is NO CORRECT way to train a dog. YOU DO WHAT EVER WORKS FOR THAT particular dog. Dogs are each uniquely different...just like kids. Some learn easier than others.....but you find how that dog learns and you have something. I do not nor will ever pretend that I know everything about dog training.....I can only share from my experience. I do not care how many letters are after someone's name they still are imparting the same knowledge that I is from their experience. Their experience is different from mine but it is still only experience! Bluntly honest, it is far easier to live with a dog that is a little on the duller side than it is to live with a smart dog. A smart dog will get into ALOT more trouble.
On the subject of dogs.....I can give anyone a well trained dog.......but IF YOU DO NOT KNOW HOW TO COMMUNICATE WITH THAT DOG, AND IF YOU DONT BUILD A TEAM with that dog,......he is going to be a dog with HUGE problems in a hurry. The dog was born a dog and will always remain a dog. I tread lightly on this because THERE ARE VERY BAD PEOPLE IN THIS WORLD who want to turn a profit on the desperation of another....they sell dogs that have VERY MINIMAL training if at all.....and they want to profit at your expense!! They prey on your hope, your desperation, your ignorance about animals. Now that being said......a good dog that you learn to work, is worth its weight in gold...but folks it is still a dog. A DARN GOOD ONE, often referred to as an angel on 4 legs.
This can present problems with children. DIabetes does everything it can to rob our lives....I am not a parent so I speak gingerly on this. How a parent teaches a child to live in going to be reflected in the relationship with the dog. If you teach your child that EVERYTHING in life can be bought, then A DAD is not for you. If you think that a dog should be some sort of soldier that you can order to alert, or that the dog is going to just alert because YOU PAID for it, you might be in for a rude awaking. A dog can be taught scent, a dog can be taught to que you, it can be taught obedience....but just like raising a child if there is NO CONSISTENCY, IF YOU DO NOT TEND to the relationship the dog will quickly revert back to being a dog and figure if that is ALL you are going to put into it why should he try. It is like raising a dont just throw the plants in the ground and walk away. You HAVE TO TEND TO THE RELATIONSHIP.
DADs are ALOT of work. I mean ALOT!!!!!! On top of a chronic disease like diabetes, it can seem to much. As a diabetic living ALONE with several can be just about wear me out sometimes. It doesn't matter if I am high and blowing ketones,needing to go to ER.....I have to care for my dogs. Sometimes with a young pup in the home......I drop low and they pick that MOMENT to want to go potty. THEY HAVE NEEDS THAT HAVE TO BE MET! Sometimes their needs can wait for a bit and sometimes not.....ARE YOU READY AND OKAY TO CLEAN UP THE MESS if you make them wait??????????? It isnt the dogs fault if you are not "present" enough to be paying attention.
Night time alerts are a PRIZED thing with a DAD. BUT THEY TAKE LOTS AND LOTS of EFFORT. Even if I dog was alerting at night for the trainer.....they may not alert for you and your family. WHY??????? Their can be 1000's of reasons but ARE YOU GOING TO STICK WITH IT TO FIGURE IT OUT? Problems always happen.....ARE YOU TENACIOUS enough to stick with it????? In spite of having to deal with the diabetes? Diabetes HAS to come first...NO OTHER CHOICE!
But so much about life is about CHOICES......A living breathing creature adds one more thing that you have to deal with. ARE YOU READY FOR THAT??????
I am not trying to turn you off to a DAD.....I am trying to help you make good choices! If you are they kind of person who gets down and dirty with life. If you dont let life keep you down for long....IF YOU ARE THE KIND OF PERSON WHO GETS KNOCKED DOWN....and you stand up and say "is that the best you can do", if you believe with every part of your being that PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY ON EVERY LEVEL IS A MUST....yes it is okay to recieve help but you arent one to take it easily...then a DAD is for you.
But if any of that doesnt ring true to you, IF YOU ARE PRAYING THAT THIS IS THE ANSWER to make everything all better, if a dog is somehow going to "save you or your child" but that they should come that way and stay that way with no work or effort on your part, if you go to numerous trainers and they each tell you what the last trainer did wrong, but dont address your role in it, then guess what A DAD is not for you.
Getting a DAD is like adopting a child from a foreign county. There is paperwork, there are language barriers, the are cultural boundaries, the list goes on and on!!! By most peoples standards I am an EXCELLENT dog trainer...but even for me it gets hard sometimes. Sometimes I am ready to give ALL my dogs away and just crawl in a little box that doesn't involve animals, people, or diabetes! Sometimes when the diabetes is bad i get angry for NO REASON ( except BG). Sometimes I can hardly crawl out of bed.....but you know what I HAVE TO.....I NEED TO...I WANT TO!!!!! I love my dogs, I am so grateful for what they do for me, that for me in the will be the dogs that get me out of the funk and back on track with life and diabetes. I am still in the honeymoon phase of my numbers are ALL over the the last month my readings have been from 12 to HI on the meter. I "GET" life with diabetes is HARD. I "GET" that it seems like it is almost IMPOSSIBLE... I GET IT. I get that nothing good in life is easy.....but these dogs are so amazing when the team is working right. They seem like an angel at times....they seem to hold our life but I also get that THEY ARE STILL DOGS!
Please make sure that before you sign away for a dog, or to train a dog on your own, that YOU ARE READY FOR THIS KIND OF RELATIONSHIP. It is heart breaking to me as a social worker to see people pin hopes on one thing and not try...(you know if you do you can always fall back on it "IT IS SOMEONES ELSES FAULT) it is heartbreaking to me as a dog lover and trainer to see a wonderful dog that you put HOURS AND HOURS of blood sweat tears and sleep deprivation into being called all sorts of names and devalued because "THE STUPID DOG WONT DO ITS JOB" What is even BREAKS MY HEART that our society has become such that is everyone elses fault, and that we can buy whatever at a moments notice and we are promised it will be fixed.
OK I am done now at least for the moment LOL I just needed to say this! I hope it helps....I hope that it makes YOU SERIOUSLY EVALUTE YOU AND YOUR CHILDS needs. I hope it makes you "think outside of the box" about training. I hope that you get exactly what you need want and deserve! But know it always comes with a price that we have to decide whether we are willing to pay for with blood sweat and tears!
PS I am going to go out on a liimb and say what makes a successful DAD team is COMMITMENT, knowledge, and time!

Monday, November 1, 2010

I’m watching you!


Bravo Eye

This is what he does best.  I hear all the time “that dog doesn’t take his eyes off of you!”

One way to avoid issues is to be on the alert…to watch!   When we watch and listen we often get some “early warning signs”.If the weather is bad there can be severe weather warnings, the state often puts up signs to warn us that “this is an area that wildlife cross”. or that “there is a wreck ahead”.  What do we do with these warnings?  Well if we are smart we heed them!  We prepare!

I stumbled on this verse the other day and it made me think of Diabetic Alert Dogs.  Ephesians 6:18 (New International Version)18And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.

I am not the “preachy” type.  It isn’t who I am.  In fact it usually burns me when people shove religion at me.  I am an independent cuss but this whole diabetes thing has me thinking.  It has application for where I currently am, my DADs included.  Bravo and Radar watch me, they alert me to danger.  Bravo consistently alerts between 90 to 100 for slow drops and at 120 to 130 for fast drops.  He alerts to highs around 250 to 300.(yes I KNOW that is to high but for me that is where it set for now)  There day I raised and dropped over 1200 points in 4 hours. My BG had a mind of its own.  It scared the crap out me! Yet through it all Bravo, Radar, and Puzzle were with me.  I kept doing what I was suppose to do but the BG was on a rampage!  A friend came over and I sent Puzzle with her just because I wasn’t in any shape to deal with3 dogs.  Puzzle didn’t really want to go.  B, Radar, and me sat in the chair and rode it all out.  I can not imagine what their noses were telling them.  Neither took their eyes off of me it was as if they were attached to me.

When I say things like this it drives some people crazy……but for me these DADS are an answer to a prayer.  They go with you in a way that no medical person can, that no friend, no family member can….I am not explaining it well but they ARE AN ANSWER TO A PRAYER.  They watch and alert when I can’t.

So Bravo, Radar, Puzzle, Epie, and ALL the other alert dogs out……………WATCH AWAY!  Thank God, that you all have been an answer to a prayer!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Why I do what I do.


Lydia n Bravo 6

This image is sooooo powerful.  It kinda says it all.  Diabetes is a nasty disease.  It is a disease where by you can do EVERYTHING you are told to do and it still runs amock in your body.  It messes with you physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.  If you happen to be a control freak you will go absolutely nuts trying to control it.  If you are like me who has always been one of those people who could do anything if they set their mind to it…..diabetes dont play by those rules.

The little girl who is holding the sign has diabetes and has for a long time.  I doubt that she remembers life before diabetes but she has something very incredible.  She a wonderful faith, a wonderful family, a wonderful support system, and she has the attitude of “Diabetes will not win over me!”  Her family applied for a DAD I was honored to go do a home visit.

Bravo alerted not only on me during the visit but he alerted to her as well.  Bravo demonstrated to them what a DAD is and some of what they can do.  He showed them the good and he showed them some bad.  Bravo is not perfect….I know that deflates some of your thoughts….but he really wanted to go get that wounded duck in the park.  Cross trained dogs have their own issues! LOL  But what Bravo did was share who he was in his entirety!  He didn’t hold back.

Maybe that is one of the many lessons a DAD brings to us….don’t hold back.  Live each day to its fullest.  Live your faith! Live your love! Live your knowledge.  Live it with your friends!

Friday, September 24, 2010




Okay so as per my last post you can tell I have been a little bit….well PISSY. I have a saying that it is better to be pissed off than pissed on. Well it seems that Puzzle also agrees with me to a point.

This morning I could not get going. I just couldn’t get awake…I could hear Puzzle howling her issue but I just couldn’t get awake enough to act. Finally I get moving and go to her kennel to find that I am to late (only the 2nd accident in her short life). The thing of it is…it appears that she tried to make it go out side of her kennel. It is a guess but it appears that she backed up to the kennel door and tried to pee through the door. How did I make this out ….well my BG meter was laying outside of her kennel in front of the kennel door and it was WET. Not just damp but WET and there was yellow water all around the case.

Hmmmmm it appears that Puzzle says “Let’s pee on all things diabetic to!” I LOVE THIS PUP! She may be to smart for her own good!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Some Cheese With that Whine!

Before I start let me say this….THIS IS NOT DIRECTED AT ANYONE IN PARTICULAR…it is simply words!  I am spouting off because I am just a little angry!

I am PISSED OFF AT DIABETES and worse yet DIABETES IS PISSED OFF AT ME. Yes I know diseases can’t show emotion but some time it sure seems like they can and diabetes is one of them.

Diabetes is a nasty disease. It affects each person slightly differently and it manifests slightly differently in each person. They can call it Type 1, Type 2, auto immune, gestational, LADA, MODY, etc and each person who has been given a label wears that TYPE like a badge. It is a brand…a brand that we are different that we are somehow broken and un-whole. Sometimes it feels like we are also unworthy of even wearing that badge. Like for petes sake: CANT YOU EVEN DO DIABETES RIGHT????

I am just getting lab results back….my A1C was 8.3. My cholesterol was high and my thyroid a tad on the low side. Plus I gained back the weight that I lost. I am pissed because the only thing that has changed is the amount of insulin that I am taking. I am MORE ACTIVE and eating close to the same that I was when I lost the weight…so what the h#(* is going on? In May I was taking .025 units of insulin per hour of U50 (half strength of regular) insulin. In September…just this am I upped my dose to .850 units per hour of regular insulin PLUS I GET AN A1C on 8.3. WTF!

Add that into the fact I am REALLY SICK AND TIRED OF THE BLAME GAME! Well it is YOUR FAULT that you have diabetes!!! You need to lose weight, You need to exercise more, you can’t do that, you should do this, WELL OBVIOUSLY YOU ARE DOING SOMETHING WRONG OR YOUR NUMBERS WOULD COME DOWN! Read any diabetic website and you will see the blame game…..YOU EAT TO MANY CARBS….YOU NEED TO USE THIS SUPPLIMENT…YOU NEED TO TRY THIS MEDICINE….WELL THIS PRODUCT WILL HELP CURE MORNING RESISTANCE.

EVERY DAY I pray for a cure…..I don’t see that happening. It actually wouldn’t surprise me if there isn’t already a cure that we are not hearing about . Diabetes is a TRILLION DOLLAR INDUSTRY…..those making that kind of money don’t want a cure! Are you kidding me… test strip is one dollar… my case they are making between 10 and 15 bucks a day just to check my glucose levels. The needles, insulin, pills, sensors, pumps tubing, glucagons, glucose tabs or solutions…oh wait don’t forget the lil thingy that cuts they end off of needles so you don’t accidentally jab yourself, or how about carrying cases for all the junk you got to carry….this list could go on and on.

OK so it is my fault and they are going to bankrupt me for being so weak and helpless……no kidding a casket at Costco is $950….YOU DO THE MATH which is cheapest! No I am not going there but don’t think I don’t ponder it.

Then lets talk about what diabetes can do to your body in the long term……skin rashes, heart problems, strokes, eye problems, just to mention a few…oh gee we have that to look forward to as well. WELL IF YOU TAKE CONTROL of your disease then those problems MIGHT NOT HAPPEN. So gee I get to be responsible for all of that to….

I am not a saint but I can sure as hell tell you I haven’t done anything in my life that would CAUSE this disease. This disease I WAS BORN WITH IT and while I can do a lot to take action against it and slow down its progression it is still going to be there! I have done EVERYTHING they have told me to do and more. I have read everything I can get my hands on and applied it. I have thought outside of the box and tried new and unusual and yet for this moment the diabetes seems to have won this round of the battle. There will be another round and I am sure that sometimes it is going to win and sometimes I will win but you know what the END is going to be the same. Maybe sooner…maybe later…but in the end it is still the same.

I realize this is pretty negative but I am tired and frustrated. I want to lash out at folks who don’t even quite get the words that they spew out of their mouth as easily as they fart. I won’t but I want to!!! What I do get is the CRAP HAPPENS IN THIS WORLD….IT IS WHAT IT IS AND IT WILL BE WHAT IT IS. At some point you just step back and say I AM DOING THE BEST I KNOW HOW AND SCREW YOU IF IT IT ISNT UP TO YOUR STANDARDS!

So would you like some cheese with my whine????????

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Bravo In the News


Bravo In Tree 2

Bravo was recently wrote up in a local newspaper called the Deseret News.  A wonderful lady by the name of Cathy Free came to my house and interviewed me.  She even got to see a real time alert.  I thought Bravo was alerting to Kim as she is very often low….but no he was alerting to me. 

Here is the link to the article…

Be sure to read Vickie Trainers comment underneath the article. 

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


Soldier Hollow 2010 Puzzle (9)
This is the newest addition to my house.  Puzzle is past cute….she is adorable and smart! I have raised ALOT of puppies in the last 15 years and she might just be the best puppy I have had. 
I took possession of Puzzle at 6 weeks.  Two of the pups stood out to me when i evaluated the litter.  Well actually they all did but looking at a dog for me and looking at a dog that will go to someone else is 2 different things.  I like independent, free spirited, and VERY energetic…….but most people don't need, want, nor can handle that.  Puzzle and her sister both really showed an attraction to diabetic scent.  Her sister was just more independent and wanted to do things her own way, while Puzzle was into being with me.   She followed me everywhere.   When I threw the wing she would go get and come back to me.  When I placed the diabetic scent on the path and threw the wing over the top…she tore after it and hit the diabetic scent and immediately stopped and went “wow…what is that”.  Then she picked the scent tube up and came back to me.  She rode quietly in her crate for 2 hours before she told us that she needed to go out.
Puzzle was in my home for 2 weeks before she had an accident in the house.  She is very clean and meticulous.  That is her dad coming out in her.  The accident was more my fault than hers…..I just could not up enough to get her outside.
For the first 4 days of her life, we had lots and lots of snuggle time, we worked on sit, scent, place, and here. She would tuck her lil bum and come to a perfect sit.  She would lay down and relax on place.  I would take my scent containers and place in the middle of the floor as soon as her lil nose would hit the scent we would have a party.  I would get all excited and give her a special treat for the “find”’  Here is a short clip of Puzzle on 3rd day of her being with me doing “scent work”.
The very next day after I had worked her on scent, worked the other dogs on obedience, fed, and aired dogs I was sitting in my chair snuggling with Puzzle.  She was in the crook of my arm fast asleep.  She suddenly awoke and looked up at me.  She stood up and crawled up my chest and got on my shoulder and started sniffing and digging at my ear.  It wasnt like a puppy playing with your ear…this was more a dog on a mission.  I pulled her back down and she crawled right back up and repeated it.  About that rtime Bravo sits up, walks over puts his head in my lap and gives me THE STARE. Radar jumps up on the back of my chair and starts swatting my head.  Oh gee….do you think I need to test.  I was 62.  At 6 weeks…this lil dog alerted.  It made the hair stand up on the back of my neck!
A few days later a friend who is diabetic and I were driving somewhere with the puppy in back seat in her crate.  Puppy was thoroughly aired and was expected to sleep for our trip.  We had gone maybe 10 miles when puppy starts whining.  She gets louder and louder.  I pull over to air her…nothing.  Back in the crate still she complained about something but we didnt know what.  Finally I suggested we test our BG…..sure enough Kim was low.  She treated…puppy went to sleep.
Two nights ago, I did the whole cascading low crap.  Once again the thing that got me up was Radar biting the soft flesh on the back on my arms…but Bravo was pawing n whining and Puzzle was HOWLING in her crate.  Epie was in her crate running circles.  According to my meter I was 12 (BG number not age!)
She is very young and the jury is still out as to who and what she will become….but I sure am liking what I am seeing so far!
Here are a few more pictures of her…045 Puzzle and Cheveyo (Dad)026 Puzzle
024 Puzzle n BravoSoldier Hollow 2010 Puzzle (4) Puzzle n Radar

Thursday, July 22, 2010

IKC Presentation

JRT (2)  watching 1

novice and experienced

Bravo and Max at Murray Park doing a DAD presentation.

Wonderful Photos taken by KRW Photography!

I recently did a presentation for the IKC club on Diabetic Alert Dogs.  It was short but hopefully informative for them.  They also got to see a real alert at the end…………that added to the excitement!

We focused on scent work, the importance of solid obedience, and service dogs.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

More Honored, Humbled, and Awed…. Bravo is nominated for 2010 AKC ACE Award

I received a letter a few weeks ago informing me that Bravo had been nominated for the 2010 AKC ACE Award. The following is a overview of that award as seen on the AKC website.

“Awards for Canine Excellence (ACE)

In 1999, The American Kennel Club took action to express its time-honored respect for the extraordinary canine-human bond, as well as its appreciation for the innumerable ways in which dogs meaningfully contribute to our lives. That initiative gave rise to The AKC Humane Fund Awards for Canine Excellence (ACE), which celebrated its first presentation year in 2000.

To qualify, the dog is required to be AKC registered or an AKC recognized breed, and have performed some exemplary act, whether large or seemingly small, that has significantly benefited a community or individual. One award will be given every year in each of the following five categories: Law Enforcement, Search and Rescue, Therapy, Service, and Exemplary Companion Dog. When appropriate, dogs earning honorable mention will be selected.

Each of the five honorees will receive a cash award of $1000 and an engraved sterling-silver collar medallion to be presented at the AKC/Eukanuba National Championship. Their names will be engraved on a plaque that hangs permanently in The American Kennel Club Library in New York City. Dogs receiving honorable mention will be awarded an engraved bronze medallion.” (

With the letter came an award certificate and more personal letter.  As most of you know, I am not often speechless, but lately that seems to be a theme.  No matter whether Bravo wins…being nominated is a humbling honor.

The following is the letter that was submitted to the AKC.  Virginia Erickson submitted the letter but the author is unknown.

“Bravo is a 4-year-old Chesapeake Bay retriever who belongs to KC Owens of SLC, UT. Bravo is a true ambassador to the Chesapeake Retriever Breed. He is active in AKC Hunt Tests, Agility, Obedience, Rally, Dock Jumping, and he is a Therapy Dog with Intermountain Therapy Animals.

Last year Bravo started alerting his owner to dangerous hypoglycemia and now works as her service dog. No matter what this dog is doing or where he is at, he stops and tells her that her blood sugar is dropping. He tends to be about 15 to 30 minutes ahead of her blood glucose meter.

KC says: “You know I have had some amazing dogs over the years. I have titled dogs in many venues, but no award I have ever received matches the feelings I have when this dog wakes me up in the middle of the night to tell me my blood sugar is low. It is a gift, a gift from him to me! It has brought me to my knees knowing how much these alerts make a difference in allowing me to keep a more regular life. In my humble opinion, Bravo is nothing short of an angel! You hear that dogs are mans best friend……Bravo is more than that he is my very heartbeat”
KC herself has given so much to the dog world. She is an AKC judge, she is on the board of directors for at least 3 dog clubs, she helps teach classes for therapy dogs, and in general is willing to help out anyone who needs it.

I hope you consider this dog for the 2010 ACE Award for service dog. The bond between this team is incredible…I swear he never takes his eyes off of her.
Thank You!”

I am not anyone special nor in many ways is Bravo…we make a good team I agree but I can name many people and dogs who do far more that either of us do.  I know in my heart that the bond between the two of us is a very special one and should be treated as such but I have been fortunate enough to witness that same bond in many dogs and owners on many different levels. 

There is an old saying from an unknown author that says “My goal in life is to be as good of a person my dog already thinks I am”. How true is that………our dogs think we are perfect in every way.  I know most of them wish we would give them more cookies, but even when we don’t they still love us with everything they have! George Eliot stated it this way, “We long for an affection altogether ignorant of our faults.  Heaven has accorded this to us in the uncritical canine attachment.”

Monday, June 7, 2010

Well You don’t See This Every Day




Bravo is now officially Fetch Express Bravo Zula SH RN NJ!  Hopefully, this year we will add CD and AJ.  I could dream and hope for QAA but I don’t see that happening this year, but it is fun to dream. 

I have said this before but none of these ribbons or titles hold a candle to when he alerts for a low blood sugar!  The thing is that it is only because of that ability that I am able to compete at these other venues.  I love being outside, I love Hunt Tests and Field Trials, I love hunting, I love Splash Dogs and Dock Jumping, I love working with Intermountain Therapy Animals, and I love doing agility…………but I could do none of that without Bravo.  Not just because it takes a dog to do these things, but because he allows me to have a more full life because of his alerts!  There was a time not to long ago when I thought I was going to have to give all of those things up because of the diabetes and the low blood sugars!  I have cut back immensely but because of that ability to alert to low blood sugars I can now at least compete on a smaller scale!  I still try to make sure someone is with me when I travel out of town or go on long trips but my freedom to do what I want is important to me. 


So is this dog!  From the look of it  he feels the same way!


John Hafner_30 (this picture by John Hafner)

John Hafner_34 (this picture by John Hafner)


Number 4 of 5 for AKC Senior Hunter Title



This picture was taken May 16 near Springfield ID.  He run a good test……I little ugly on the 2nd series but still gave me good effort!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Long Time No See!

So sorry folks!  I have been up to my ears for the last little bit.  It seems that all fronts of my life have been on overload lately!

I promise to catch you all up very soon as I get things wrote up.  There has been many exciting positive things occurring lately!  Some of which I don’t even have words for yet!

Max (the lil choc pup) gave her first alert!  She also has had alert 2, 3, and 4!   The most exciting for me is that one of the alerts was with her owners!  They were a little unsure of what they were seeing but sure enough Max was telling that Shannon was low!  I have started teaching Max hold and fetch, and working on more advanced obedience stuff.  She is still very young but I am very pleased with what I am seeing!

Bravo and Radar have had numerous alerts over the last month.  Bravo has alerted a couple of times on drops that were occurring while I was driving.   Once when Virginia E. and I were driving to Pocatello, ID to a AKC Hunt Test.  B had been sleeping in the back seat of the truck.  All of the sudden, he is trying to wedge his way into the front seat.  He kept shouldering up on the console between me and Virginia.  Virginia exclaimed, “gee, he has been so good up till now…what is going on?”  I told her I was dropping and he was telling me.  I treated the low, he laid with his head on the console for about 10 minutes watching me.  When he was sure I was okay, he returned to his spot in the back, curled up in a ball, and went back to sleep!   He did the same basic thing when a friend came into town to judge an AKC Hunt test memorial day weekend.  We were heading to Kennecott Copper Mine for some site seeing when Bravo again alerted to my blood sugar dropping! As soon as I treated the low……..he observed me for a bit, then curled up and went back to sleep.  Then there was the day that my friend Kim came over.  She is also diabetic.  I was in the middle of a low when she got there.  I was trying to treat it but it was one of those lows that won’t respond to regular methods of treatment.  Since he had told me I was low….he decided to go tell her.  All of the sudden his body language changes and he alerts her and then comes and tells me that she is low too!!! Poor B about wore himself out that night between the 2 of us!  One evening in early May I went to a graduation party for a friend who just got her doctorate.  Many of the folks that were there work in the diabetes field.  We all met at a nice restaurant in downtown SLC.  My friend Kim was with me as well.  Bravo was laying at my feet under the table, quietly snoozing.  I saw him lift his head and sniff the air.  He gets up and alerts Kim to a low.  He then lays back down.  The next thing I know his head is in my lap alerting me to a low.  It was another one of those lows that doesn’t respond to food…so I finally took a shot of glucagon.  I have said it before….I LOVE THIS DOG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Radar one morning a couple of weeks ago was dinking around the front room.  I had let Bravo and Raven outside.  Radar had been out earlier so I just let him hang out with me.  I was fooling around on the computer.  All of the sudden he jumps up on the back on my chair.  I pushed him off and he jumps up again.  Again I told him to get down!  He jumps back up a third time and starts pawing at the top of my head.  I reached down to grab me meter and while I am trying to check my sugar, he is trying to get his nose in my ear and at the same time pawing at my head.  Sure enough..I was 62!  Radar is still young…just turned 2.  He has come A LONG WAYS, but still has more to learn.  The jury is still out as to whether he will ever be a service dog, but I love his tenaciousness!!!!  Not much shuts this lil guy down!  He is persistant and focused about the alerts!  I am working on him to not keep re alerting after I have treated the low….but as with all things it takes time!

More to come………………………

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Busy Busy Busy

It has been very busy the last couple of weeks.  Work stuff, Hunt Tests, house stuff, company….and brutal lows.  When I get done with all the things I have to do it seems I am so tired that all I want to do is fall in bed.

However some good things have happened….Bravo got 2 more ribbons toward his Senior Hunter (Thanks to Robert for running him while I judged Master.),  Radar turned 2 today, and Max has now alerted twice to low blood sugars.

Six of the last 14 days have been low days.  I feel like a mack truck has parked on top of me.  The dogs are earning their keep!

I know this is short but I just wanted you all to know I haven’t forgotten you!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

A Miracle!

This past week has been chaotic at best.  The week started with prep for a Wild Game Feast.  I shopped, looked at recipes, and cooked for 3.5 days. The dinner was Wednesday night and we had about 50 people there.  Everyone left very sated from all the wonderful elk, deer, trout, pheasant, and side dishes! 

The day of the dinner I couldn't keep my BG up.  It got a little confusing when I couldn’t tell the difference between Bravo alerting for BG and wanting more meat scraps! 

Thursday we had a board meeting and all day my BG went up and It down…more of a typical roller coaster day.

Yesterday was a miracle!  Why????  My BG stayed in between 80 and 180 ALL DAY and I got to eat!  About 10 days ago I received a loaner DexCom Seven from Cottonwood Endocrinology.  Dex is a continuous blood glucose monitor. I test on average of 10 to 15 times a day with my meter.  Dex tests every 5 minutes.  I saw a lot of things that I was missing or ideas were confirmed by the data I was receiving.  Dex is an amazing little creature.  It has some pitfalls but the feedback I have been getting is incredible!

This is the 2nd time I have been on a CBGM (continuous blood glucose monitor) in the last 2 months.  The first time I couldn’t see the results. Dex has a little screen that gives data immediately. My diabetic educator told me when you are on one …IT IS TIME TO TEST THEORIES AND TRY NEW THINGS.  I did and yesterday I think we stumbled on something that works.

I have NASTY spikes after eating.  It doesn’t matter if I eat 15 carbs or 60 carbs my BG spikes to 200 or better.  There have been days I could think about food and it would spike.  It seems I have zero 1st phase insulin and limited 2nd phase insulin.  My insulin has never matched my food, so I would get wild swing.  I have tried everything under the sun! Low carb, not eating, dual waves, supplements, drugs, and the list goes on.  Yesterday I discovered I feature on my Animas Ping pump that I think may be part of the miracle I have been looking for.  It is the temporary basal feature.  Basal insulin is the insulin in our bodies that constantly there.  It kind of just ekes out to keep BG levels semi steady.  Basal rates are different for everyone. 

Yesterday I decided to try this feature out.  As I got ready to eat lunch I turned my basal rates up by 30 percent for 3 hours then I bolused for the carbs I was going to eat.  At 2 hours I was at 125, at 3 I was at 120.  Then I turned the basal down 30% for 2.5 hours.  At 6 hours after eating I was at 100 and at 8 hours after eating I was at 100.   It was STEADY!!!!!  I ate again and the same thing happened.  I awoke this am to a BG reading of 100!!!

I know to those of you who don’t have diabetes I am speaking a foreign language, but trust me when I say THIS IS A MIRACLE for me.  The last time my BG was this steady was when I was in the the hospital for 2 weeks not eating at all!  Before that I am betting it has been close to 10 years!  I don’t remember the last time I woke up with a BG that low. 

Thank you Lord!!!!!!!!!!!  THANK YOU!!! THANK YOU!!!


P.S.  Lord, if it isn’t asking to much can I have another miracle with these lows I have been having?????  Don’t want to be greedy, but it sure would be nice to have some more of my life back that I have gave up!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Radar’s Alert


Radar 1 90708

Monday was a rough day!  It started off harmless enough.  I went and did a therapy dog visit at Aspen Ridge Rehab Hospital. Then I went and ate lunch with a friend.

Then my blood glucose decided to go awry. For 6 hours I was all over the map. Up and down…it was like roller coaster ride that I couldn’t get off of.  To be honest, I don’t remember much of the evening.  Lows are like wading in mud up to your waist.  You try to push on through to get to the other side but sometimes it is easier to just sit and sink!  I know that both Bravo and Radar had a busy evening.  If I am home Radar generally alerts first.  I think that it is because he is most often laying on my lap or on the arm of chair, while Bravo is on floor at feet or laying on the couch. (Yes my dogs are allowed on the furniture….so if you don't like dog hair it probably isn't a good idea to come to my house.) 

Because Radar is sort of new to all this, I am still learning his patterns of alerting and still building a trust with him.  For those of you that know Radar, you know that he has a nickname that he lives up to. For those of you that don’t know Radar…lets just say when he is good, he is absolutely wonderful but when he is bad………HE IS HORRID!  Radar does nothing in moderation!

Anyhow I am sitting in my chair thinking about taking a nap…the phone rings and it is Kim, my diabetic educator.  I remember talking to her at first then my memory gets real fuzzy.  The rest of this is from her. “You was telling Radar to stop it and go lay down. When I ask you what he was doing, you replied he is smacking me in the head with his paw.  I ask what Bravo was doing you said laying on couch looking at me.  You kept getting after Radar telling him to leave you alone. I ask if you had checked your sugar, you told me it was 128 about a half hour ago. I told you to check again. You kept growling at Radar to stop it.  When ask again what Radar was doing you told me he was standing on your shoulder licking your ear, pawing your head and that Bravo had his head in your lap and was staring at you.  I finally got you to check and you had dropped to 39.”

Radar is tenacious!  When he decides he is really going after something NOTHING will stop him.  It is like the more you tell him no, the more he says “Well, WATCH THIS”!

I got Radar with no real specific purpose in mind.  He was going to be my ‘truck dog”.  I wanted a little dog but I needed one that could hang with my big dogs.  Nothing fazes him, except he doesn’t like my brother stomping his feet at him.  Radar retrieves birds, jumps off the dock (SOMETIMES when water isn’t to cold), plays at agility, does stupid pet tricks, and will do about anything I ask him to do…but he does everything with a big dog attitude.  I tell people that he is a 18 pound, 15 inch tall Chesapeake Bay retriever. He is really a Parson Russell Terrier.  What a funny little dog!  When I first got him, he snuggled right into me.  Then we went to go get a harness for him and he tried to eat me in the middle of Petco.  Radar has always been at the extremes.  He does nothing halfway.

No matter how he handles things I am just glad he is as tenacious as he is about alerting.  A friend once told me “A stubborn person needs a stubborn dog!”  Hmmmm, I guess I deserved that remark!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Honoring What They Do


Paw Print Tattoo 2

After the first tattoo I realized that if I really wanted EMS to know I was diabetic I should do something on both wrist’s.  However, I wanted something different.  The above is what I came up with.  Those are Bravo and Radar’s actual paw prints, reduced down to fit.  Now not only are they engraved on my heart…they are engraved on my arm.

I am sure there are folks that are wondering if I have lost my mind.  Well many have wondered that for years!!  Maybe I am just confirming it now.  What Bravo and Radar do is so IMPORTANT to me…this seems trivial in comparison.  I have had some amazing dogs in my life but these 2 go beyond amazing…they are my life line in so many ways.

On the day that I got this tattoo I went down to Animal Control to get Bravo’s license.  There was a long line and the usual uncontrollable family pets.  There was a pit bull right in front of me that kept wanting to play with any dog around including Bravo.  Bravo ignored him and everyone else except for a gentleman that was ahead of me in line.  He had some sort of mixed breed on a leash next to him.  The line moved slowly. Bravo kept watching what I thought was the dog next to the gentleman.  He wouldn’t stay sitting, he wouldn’t stay down, and at that point in my eyes he was being a very BAD dog.  I was about ready to take him out to the truck. The line inched forward and suddenly the gentleman with the mixed breed sort of collapsed at the counter.  A fireman who was behind me in line stepped forward to assist the gentleman when I hear “diabetic”.  I look at Bravo and suddenly realize it is out of character for him to be such an unruly dog and that he was alerting on someone else.  DUH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Sometimes I wish I was as smart and as compassionate as my dog! All I can do is get a tattoo that reminds me of how wonderful they are!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Having Fun Is Important!



Bravo and Radar had an awesome weekend!  We spent the weekend at the Shamrock Splash put on by Splash Dogs and at the International Sportsman's Expo doing Dock Dogs. 

I firmly believe that while Bravo may be a full working dog he needs to have fun as well!  Bravo’s best jump this weekend was well off his personal best but still a respectable jump of 21’4” in Big Air and 6 feet in Extreme Vertical!  Our local newspaper The Deseret News has some great video clips of the Dock Dog event.  About halfway through there are some great shots of Bravo doing the Extreme Vertical.   Click Here!

Radar is a fair weather dog!  He likes to jump when the water is warm or when there is something that really gets his attention…like a remote control speed boat!  His big thing this weekend was Course-A-Lure.  I call it “crack for terriers”!  Below is a video of Radar attempting Course-A-Lure.


As you can see from the opening picture Bravo had a very respectable weekend!  Dock Dogs has an event called Speed Retrieve.  We had never seen this event before, let alone try it.  The jest of it is that a “flappy” (bumper) is suspended from a electronic timer box at the end of a 40’ pool.  The dog must be behind a electronic eye at 20’ on the dock.  There is a light that blinks yellow 3 times and then turns green and you release your dog to go.  The dog then must jump in the water and swim to the object and grab it thus stopping the timer.  Bravo’s first attempt was a little over 8 seconds!  Not blazing fast but still respectable!

Bravo qualified for the finals in both Big Air and Speed Retrieve.  During the Big Air Finals we were just getting ready to attempt our first jump when I felt my blood sugar dropping.  I decided to go ahead and try and push through it.  I set Bravo at his normal start place of 32’feet on the dock, walked to the end of the dock, and called him hard to come jump.  He raced to me…threw the brakes on, stopped at the edge of the dock, looked me in the eye, and then jumped 7’.  “Excuse me, mom…..I like this stuff but your blood sugar is low!” I came off the dock ate 2 bags of gummy bears, 4 tabs, and a bag of peanut mix. Round 2 went better, but Bravo’s heart still wasn’t into jumping.  He jumped a little over 17’ and took 8th in the finals. I on the other hand went and took a glucagon shot!

In spite of the low blood sugar attack, we had a awesome weekend.  It never ceases to amaze me how Bravo can override all of his training in other venues and still tell me when my sugars are low!  He was trained in obedience, field, agility, and jumping long before he started alerting…yet somehow he overrides all of that training to tell me when my sugars are low!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


For those of you that know me, you know I don’t usually act without good reason.  I seldom do things on a whim!  This past week I did something totally out of character for me.  I GOT A TATOO!!!!!!

It isn’t any tattoo… it is a medical alert tattoo!  I had been thinking about getting a tattoo, as I hate to wear jewelry.  It seems like when I do wear jewelry, it is constantly getting tangled up in something…a dog leash or my hair are the 2 favorites.  When that happens it often hurts.  I know that I need to have something that would warn EMS or other pertinent individuals that I have diabetes but I just hate jewelry!   So my solution to this was a tattoo.  I talked to my doctor, I researched a reputable artist, and I made sure that it was a clean environment!

For me, the pain was the equivalent of a road rash and hardly worse than all the finger sticking I have to do to test my blood sugar.  It is on the inside of my wrist on my right arm and it is 1 ¾” wide and 2 ½” tall.  I like it so much that I have decided to do another one on my left wrist!  The next one is my own design, but that will be a later post!

Below is a picture of the tattoo!

Bad Reasons For Getting a Diabetic Alert Dog

I was at a doctor’s office this week when the following conversation came up with a perfect stranger. She is telling me she has a 17-year-old son who is going to college and that her daughter is getting up and testing this kid every hour in the middle of the night.  She is also telling me that her daughter is moving so her son can live with her while going to college and she can continue to check him.  I ask how old the daughter was….she was 23.  I ask what her role was in all this…”she says oh I have to work and to be honest “I just can’t handle it”.  She says “we should get a D.A.D., it would make my daughters life easier”. The conversation goes on… she says “How often do your dogs miss a low?” I hedged and replied “well I always try to remember they are dogs first and foremost!”  She says “well why would you put all that time and effort if they are not going to do their job?”  “ I would have to get rid of them if they aren’t going to help!”  “Would you be willing to sell your dog?” “Can I get your number?”

Thank You, Lord I was called back to see the doctor, but I will tell you my blood pressure was high! It is not my place to judge anyone else.  Hey this disease is a horrible thing for everyone involved…but there is just so many things that bugs me about what she said to me.  In her case, hiring a personal assistant would be a better idea.  I just wonder how long it will be before the personal assistant says DO IT YOURSELF!  I guess just about anything can be bought now days, but it would be a very cold day before I allowed any dog that I have control over into an environment like that!

Can you imagine the dog’s perspective of trying to alert when someone is yelling at the diabetic for not taking better care of their self?  Can you imagine what happens if a D.A.D.,  misses an alert and all the sudden they are blamed for a low blood sugar?  The sad thing is that I hear stories like this all to often.  Either families are not emotionally, physically, or mentally able to take on another challenge…or all their hopes are pinned on a D.A.D.,  and when it doesn’t work out it is the dogs fault.  THEY ARE DOGS!!!!!  DOGS ARE ANOTHER TOOL IN THE BATTLE AGAINST THIS CRUMMY DISEASE!  THEY ARE A FRIEND IN A TIME OF NEED!!!  They are many things, but always and ever a dog! Just like us they have good days and bad days.   Even when a dog is fully trained, training always continues.  It is fined tuned or something new is taught.  Just like us if the dog gets stagnant, they get bored!

Training a dog is never an easy task.  I get many questions about how to train a diabetic alert dog…I get even more questions about how to train a dog.  I have been pondering these questions a lot lately.  It seems I always answer this question by asking a question…ARE YOU READY FOR A DOG?  Or ARE YOU READY TO MAKE SOME VERY SERIOUS CHANGES IN ORDER TO GET A DOG WHERE YOU WANT THEM TO BE?

Obtaining a dog should require A LOT of forethought before bringing one home.  It is not a decision that should be made lightly!  Yes dogs are humankind’s best friend but we also have RESONSIBILITY about how we interact with them.  If your home is utter chaos with tempers flaring, lots of yelling, and in general an unhappy place to be…do you really think that a dog is a good idea?  If your home is a place where no one can make a decision and no one wants to take responsibility for their own actions or where one person is trying to fix everyone else’s problems…do you really think a dog is a good idea?  In the case of a DAD, if the active diabetic really doesn’t want a dog and doesn’t want the added responsibility of a dog or doesn’t have the wherewithal to build a active relationship with a dog…do you really think that getting a dog is a good idea? The whole idea of PERSONAL RESPONSIBILTY and dogs is CRITICAL!

Diabetic Alert Dogs in particular require HOURS AND HOURS of TRAINING and CARE!  Their needs must be met as well…as much of a blessing my guys are to me, they are also a lot of work.  I don’t mind it one bit as what I give to them seems so pale as to what I receive from them…but I thought I would give you a breakdown of a fairly typical day for me.  I wake up around 6 AM, go to bathroom, let dogs out, check my blood glucose, and let dogs back in. I then feed the dogs and while they eat I take a shower.  I then eat breakfast and take dogs for a walk or some sort of exercise.  I come back and do some sort of training.  It might be obedience, agility, field, or scent.  Sometimes I just use the time to teach Radar some stupid pet trick.  I then go to work.  One of the dogs then goes to work with me while the other one is in a port a kennel at home.  As soon as I get home from work the morning process repeats its self.  I let dogs out, feed, and then do more training.  Even though both dogs are alerting, THE TRAINING PROCESS NEVER ENDS!  Even when I am not formally training there are still certain standards that must be met and adhered to or I might just have to have a “in the moment” training session.  SIT always should mean SIT.  HERE should always mean come right now.  Every command needs to be responded to.  It should be prompt and not when the dog decides it is good and ready to do it. 

Several years back while at an AKC Hunt Test I and my chocolate lab named Hooter failed the test. I came off the line and mumbled something about “It is all my fault”.  A guy who I have a lot of respect for says “KC, Why do you always blame yourself when your dog fails?” I replied “cause it usually has something to do with me not teaching them all the necessary tasks that they need to know”.  He says, “well that is true most of the time, but sometimes they are just dogs!”  No matter how well trained they are, SOME TIMES THEY ARE JUST DOGS!  As a D.A.D. Bravo has missed one low since August of last year…it was a 78 (not truly considered a low) and it was due to the insulin not this other weird thing I have.  That is a pretty amazing record in my opinion. However, if he ever misses I will still love him and be grateful for what he does give me!  A diabetic alert dog can make a huge difference in a human life…but please do it for the right reason and with the right attitude!