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!