Thursday, July 5, 2012

Blog is Moving!

Please go to the following website:

It is under construction but is coming along!  All of the blog posts have been transferred!

See you there!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Written by a friend and fellow DAD owner

This was written by a friend of mine who has an amazing DAD name Gracie that she self trained and a T1 daughter.  Here is the link to the original post and it is reprinted here with her permission  Thank you Shana Eppler!

I am not a blogger....I'm a quick poster. However, something has been bothering me that I feel I need to address.

Many people read about Gracie and other DADs and automatically think "I want that!" Gracie is a life saver. She is a blessing from God, BUT having a DAD is big responsibility. It is a 24/7 job. Having a DAD means checking more often.....getting woke up more at night....dealing with a DAD that's alerting while dealing with a low/high child. It's a lot to have on your plate. It's not all fun and games. It is work.

I researched DADs before I put down a deposit with a breeder in early October 2009. I knew my puppy would not be coming home with me until April/May 2010. I had a 7 month wait. I went to DAD conferences. I talked to trainers. I read every book on dog training that I could get my hands on. I read about different training methods. I talked to diabetics who had DADs. I picked their brains. I took notes and took notes. I practiced teaching obedience to our family pet. I planned ahead.

When Gracie became ours on April 30, 2010, I was prepared as best as I could be. I had a plan. I took May through the end of August off and did nothing but train 24/7. I had Gracie on a training schedule. I trained her multiple times a day on obedience skills. She watched every single blood glucose check at night and during the day from night one on. She went everywhere we went. Every moment was a training opportunity.

I am finding that many people see the end result and jump in feet first having no clue what they are doing. They do not do their research. They do not ask questions or take notes. If they do ask questions, they hear what they want to hear. Often they ask questions and then do just the opposite. They see what they want and act on it without thinking, and then they are surprised when things don't work out the way they thought it would.

Talk to people who have DADs. Talk to several people who have DADs that actually alert at night and during the day. Pay attention to their advice. Listen to what they have learned....what they have lived through. Listen to the breeds they recommend. There's a reason why some breeds work better than others. Listen to the training advice they give. They have been there, done that. They know what works and what doesn't.

I guess the point I'm getting at is prepare yourself. Put just as much effort into researching DADs and training a DAD as you put into researching and learning about diabetes. Take it slow. Educate yourself. You'll be a lot better off in the end.

Well said Shana!

It Takes Everyone

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" 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 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!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

This Just Came out in the American Cheapeake Bulletin!

Bravo was born in McCammom, ID on December 2, 2005; I received him as a gift from Steve and Sharon Parker of Sunshine Kennels early in 2006. I didn't plan for him to remain with me, I had another home already lined up for him when he turned two. I had trained and competed with Labs and simply wanted to see if my training practices had advanced enough to train a Chesapeake Bay Retriever. I had no clue that when this brown bundle of fur came into my home that my life was about to be forever changed.

As a pup Bravo was a funny little joker, full of joy and happily bringing laughter to whatever situation we were in. Before he was a year old I exposed him to as many new experiences as I could.

Bravo had *heart* and he always tried. He occasionally made wrong choices, but as long as he put forth effort and tried I was happy. Working with him, I realized that Chessies are not for everyone and they are definately not for a novice trainer!

At 12 months of age Bravo passed the tests and became a registered Delta Therapy Dog. We volunteered at Aspen Ridge Rehabilitation Hospital working with a therapist and patient. Bravo took people for walks, pulled wheelchairs and played all sorts of retriever games. We would help stroke victims practice speech by having them give him commands, other times he would lay quietly as patients re-learned to move their limbs to pet or brush him. People will often do things with and for therapy animals that they won't do for their Doctors or nurses.

His registered name is Fetch Express Bravo Zula SH, CDX, RN, NAJ. He also jammed a Qualifying stake at the only AKC Field Trial I entered him in. He is an accomplished dock jumper with a personal best of 23' 7" in Big Air (broad jump) and 6' 10” in super vertical (high jump). Bravo has twice been nominated for the AKC ACE award (Award for Canine Excellence) in 2010 and 2011.

In 2011 Bravo won the K9 Hero of the Year Award at the Soldier Hollow Sheepdog Classic in Utah. He was also in a Cabela’s commercial and he is the Cover Dog of the 2012 Cabela’s Lab calendar. (Yes, a Chessie is the
cover dog - I am not sure if Cabela’s knows that or not, LOL!)

Bravo is also my hunting partner, he is an incredible waterfowl and upland hunting dog. He has more ribbons, medals and plaques than I have wall space for. While all of this is amazing and shows what an incredible dog he is, there is one more skill that I would gladly trade every ribbon, medal, and plaque that we have received for. You see, Bravo is also my Diabetic Alert Dog (DAD).

I am a Type 1 Diabetic with hypoglycemic unawareness. My pancreas does not produce enough insulin and I do not realize it when my blood glucose drops too low. Bravo alerts me to my low levels as well as my highs. He first alerts me that there is a change happening; I then I ask “What is it?” and he either waves a paw at me for high blood glucose or he bows for low blood glucose. Bravo has allowed me to remain active doing the things that I love.

While Bravo has brought hope and comfort to me, he has also brought hope to others with diabetes. People see him in action and become driven to improve their own lives with a trained DAD dog. He helps teach both the diabetic and their family how to properly handle dogs. He also alerts the family if *their* blood glucose is too high or too low. Bravo has alerted countless people with diabetes in elevators, in airplanes, at sporting venues and in Doctors offices. Basically anywhere there are people, Bravos' nose is at work.

At a recent Diabetic Alert Dog Conference, Bravo was working with a teenage diabetic while I was instructing a class. This young man is anxiously awaiting his own Diabetic Alert Dog but is currently on a waiting list. Suddenly, Bravo began alerting him that his blood glucose was getting low. He quickly got his meter and checked his blood, it confirmed the beginning stages of a low blood sugar. A dangerous low was avoided for this young man.

This is HUGE in the life of a diabetic! With tears in their eyes his parents came up and said "That is the most incredible thing we have ever seen! We know that when we get our own dog that will be common, but this moment with Bravo will always be special for our son and for us - he gave us our first real time alert to a low blood sugar."

Bravo helps me train other dogs to perform this much needed service through playful competition and the goal of being first to inform the diabetic of a low sugar. He misses very few low or high blood sugars on me and he is a perfect example for other dogs to learn from.

Bravo’s alerting has caused us to be disqualified in a few competitions, but I truely don’t care. He has proven that his number one job is to tell me when my blood sugars are off no matter what he is doing or where he is. The "nose" knows, and he tends to be about 15 to 30 minutes ahead of the blood glucose meter, 30 to 45 minutes ahead of a continuous blood glucose monitor.

Here are just a few of his more memorable alerts from the last year - I was judging an AKC test in OR. and Bravo alerted to me from over 400 yards away. While out hunting, he refused to retrieve downed birds until I fixed my blood glucose. Bravo alerted while we were receiving an award at the Soldier Hollow Sheep Dog Classic. While running an agility course, he suddenly stopped, came across in front of me, and would not let me move because my blood glucose had dropped dangerously low. Another time Bravo was inside the house while I was out doing yard work when my blood glucose dropped rapidly. He could not get to me, so using his nose he raised the window a bit farther and pushed out the screen. He then ran to me and alerted. There has not been a day in the last few years that he has not had to alert, and he averages five alerts a day.

His story is a testament to what an amazing breed the Chesapeake Bay Retriever truly is. Bravo is a very talented dog, my own personal guardian angel and my hero! This dogs' dedication and service to me is above and beyond anything that I have ever experienced in my life. I am so humbled, honored and truely blessed to have him in my life. My heartfelt thanks to Steve and Sharon Parker for the wonderful gift that has literally saved my life!

Here a few of the local news links about Bravo…

And Bravo has his own facebook page!

I also try to keep up with a blog about Bravo, DAD’s and diabetes!

Thursday, May 31, 2012

I am starting a team up for our JDRF walk. I would like to invite any of my DAD and dog friends to join my team and help raise funds and awareness of diabetes and DADS. If you would like to join my team you can sign up on the link below. If you just want to come walk that is great to. Let me know ASAP if you are interested cause I want to have matching t shirts made up. The theme is "COWBOY UP...."

If you want to donate to this wonderful cause that would be great as well!


Monday, May 21, 2012

Diabetes Hero

Who are your diabetic hero's?  I have many!

The first one is all of the parents who get up in the middle of the night to check their child's bg!  I do not know how they do it!  I am awed by the strength that they have, the commitment and dedication to help their children stay on top of this disease! Hats off to each of you!

The second one is my friend Kim McClure.  She is a Certified Diabetic Educator here in SLC. Kim  changed by opinion of the health profession!  She taught me how to live with this disease by example.  Kim has been diabetic for over 30 years and is the most amazing lady I have ever had the privilege to meet.  She is caring, compassionate, dedicated, loyal, a fighter, and she has the most amazing sense of humor!  Kim has laughed with me, cried with me, and walked me through each and every day of this journey!  Kim has been my counselor, my confident, my coach, my adviser, my friend, and my hero!  Kim has taught me how to laugh at this disease, she has given me courage and hope to face another day!

My third hero(s) are my dogs Bravo and Radar.  Bravo is the most incredible dog I have ever owned!  I still get teary eyes and goosebumps when I think of all this dog does!  This past weekend he alerted over 80 times in just over 2 days on 4 different diabetics. That is not an exaggeration and it was witnessed by many! He didn't miss and he was never wrong!  He blows my mind with his abilities!  I am so blessed to have him and Radar in my life!

Who are your heros and why???  We all need those people that make us get up and face another day!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

What They Should Know

This post is suppose to be about what the world should know about diabetes!  There are many things that I would like to announce to the world.  Mostly I wish people would stop being so stupid about the things they say to a diabetic.  I wish they would stop showing how stupid they truly are about service dogs!   This "stupidity" knows no bounds when it comes to either of those subjects.  Let me give you 2 examples that have happened the last week alone!

A good friend of mine who has a wonderful service dog was in a very well known fast food chain when he was ask to leave because of his dog! His dog was wearing a vest that CLEARLY identified him as a service dog.  His owner is very aware of ADA laws and was trying to educate...but the police were called.  The policeman showed up and showed his ignorance by announcing "this is private have to leave".  To make it all worse my friend was has a low bg during all of this!   From the ADA website it states CLEARLY  in commonly asked questions that  any "private" business (ie restaurant) that serves the public cannot discriminate on an individual or service animal and animal must be allowed in areas where public are commonly allowed.  They tried to talk to the police officer and show him the ADA card and he replies "I KNOW THE LAW".  Needless to friend now has grounds to sue based on discrimination.....all because he is a T1 diabetic that has a service dog!

Then I had my own run with stupidity when I flew to TN last week.  The T.S.A. in Salt Lake were a bear to deal with.  I have flown A LOT with Bravo and have never had any trouble but this experience has me wanting to drive rather than fly!  In fact here is the copy of the letter that I sent to T.S.A.

To Whom This May Concern:
I am a T1 diabetic with a service dog. I have flown out of SLC airport probably 60 times in the last few years. Normally it all goes smooth but last Thursday was a NIGHTMARE.

I have a new insulin pump and was advised to NOT let it go through any I ask if they would hand check my insulin pump. All of my other stuff went through the normal xray procedures. Flying with a service dog I get everything ready and then strip him at the last minute. I put him on a down and I walk through and then he is called through. All normal at this point. No alarms nothing out of normal. I go to pick up my dogs equipment mostly his collar and leash that went through xray and a gentlemen yells (YES YELLS) DONT TOUCH THAT. I said " sir it his leash and collar ...I dont think we want a SD loose in the airport". Just leave it and come with me. At this point a female officer comes over and says "BECAUSE of the INSULIN PUMP we need to do a pat down" Ok but can I have my leash and collar for my dog? We have to check it. OK......fine. SO I put my dog on a down where he should be out of the way. He is laying there while I am getting patted down. He is watching very closely as service dogs are used to seeing their owners handled that way, She states 'he is watching me funny" I tell her " they aren't used to it" about that time another agent comes over to get empty pans which are on a cart next to my dog. He promptly knocks them over on top of my dog who spooks a little. I am not talking loud noise close I am talking big things landing on my dog. Again I am chastised for moving and it "felt" like I was being discriminated all for being a diabetic who NEEDS an insulin pump! The best one is shortly after that one of the agents while going through my stuff drops my dogs REWARD BALL for alerts on floor. When Bravo gets up to get it he starts hollering "DON'T TOUCH THAT" . I finally get done and thanks to all the stress of that I have a very bad hypoglycemic reaction.

I tell you all of that to ask some questions:

1. HOW is the best way to handle our insulin pumps???? On my return trip I just let them x-ray it as I figure it is far better to do that than deal with that crap again. I wish I didn't have to fly often but I can I please get some guidance on how to make this smoother?

2. Why can a dog not be given back their lead while being patted down? I have NEVER had trouble like this before and most often get lots of compliments on how well my dog behaves. The few times I have been patted down it was NOTHING like this.

Thank you for your time in responding to this....I understand you have a job to do....and thank you for that..but I need some help so this don't happen again!
KC Owens
I then get this reply from T.S.A.:
FROM TSA: "Thank you for your comments, regarding your experience while traveling. Specifically, you expressed dissatisfaction with the way you were treated by the Transportation Security Officers (TSOs) here in Salt Lake City.

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) SLC regrets any unprofessional treatment you may have experienced at the security checkpoint. TSA seeks to provide a high level of security and customer service to all travelers who pass through our screening checkpoints. Every person and item must be screened before entering each secured area, and the way the screening is conducted is important. Our policies and procedures focus on ensuring that all passengers, regardless of their personal situations and needs, are treated with dignity, respect, and courtesy. I have forwarded your concerns to the security managers to pull the video tapes of your screening to review and see what happened. From your description I agree that you should have been allowed to place your dog’s collar and leash back onto the dog for security. I apologize and I hope the officer did as well for spilling items on the dog. I hope this did not upset your dog too much. Because insulin pumps are attached to the person, the only way TSA can clear them is to do a pat-down. I know this can be uncomfortable. You can always request a private screening, and also request a supervisor to assist you. "
I am not done with them yet so I write this reply :
"Can I ask a few more questions please?

I am trying hard to come up with ways to make this easier for everyone involved. What
if I disconnect from the pump for the few minutes that it takes to go through security?
Is there a way to just check the pump without it going through the xray stuff?
Everything but that? Then hand screen the insulin pump only while the rest of my stuff
and me and the dog go through regular screening??

Thank you for your time.....I really am trying to figure out how to make this smoother.
I really don't want to ruin a 10k piece of equipment but I really don't want a repeat
performance of the last time. I have 4 more trips coming up in the near future and this
is the FIRST TIME I have ever had this happen. EVER! When I fly out of a morning I
usually walk over to the International side...they are not nearly as busy and it has
always gone smooth!

Thanks again

ANd her last reply : "You can send the insulin pump through the X-ray, but if you ask for it to be hand screened then they will have to do the pat down process.  I would just ask for a supervisor, tell him/her that you had an unfortunate, bad experience the last time.  If you need to be patted down, can you have a private screening with your dog?"
I have a better about the pump companies figure out how to make xray safe for our pumps!  For petes sake every other electronic thing goes through security just fine...why cant an insulin pump????? Come on T.S.A. there are roughly 3 MILLION  Type 1 diabetics in the US.  A big chunk of them have insulin pumps and most have probably flown at least some.   
Add all of these "outside" ignorant responses on top of all the things we live with diabetes and no wonder we sometimes get  a tad surly  when we are low! 

Please folks..."think before you speak" and SOMEBODY PLEASE FIX T.S.A!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Fantasy Diabetes Device

I want a REAL that works right.  How much more fantasy do you want than that? 

If I cant have that can at least an insulin be developed that actually MATCHES the food we eat?  I don't know about you but I have yet to have a moment of perfect match where my insulin matches my food!  It drives me crazy!  I can eat the exact same amount of carbohydrates and get a different reading every time.  Heck I can even eat the same thing and get a different reading! 

There are just so many variables that play into this!

All I know is that I am so thankful that my dogs are so on top of it!  Until there are better treatment options or a cure (wont happen in my lifetime) I have the best device in the world! A diabetic alert dog!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

One Thing to Work On

Okay the NUMBER ONE THING that as a diabetic that I need to work on.  Well there are many things but the number one thing is that I really need to learn that it is OKAY to not always push through every bad diabetic day!  I really have a hard time admitting that sometimes.  Honestly there are days that I want to go back to bed, snuggle with the dogs, and just hide under the covers and wish diabetes would go away!

The old sayings "no blood-no foul", "pull yourself up by the bootstraps", and "clean up after yourself..your momma dont work here" I truley believe apply to me.  There are times I just cant give myself permission to be diabetic even at the expense of my own body! 

Why is it so hard to give yorself permission in the middle of a really bad low to lay down for a minute and rest?  Why is it so hard to allow that bone tiredness from a high  to sink in and acknowledge it? I really dont get it! I know in my head if I would slow down and rest it would make things better but I just can't.

My New Years resolution for the last 10 years has been to slow down and take care of me................I do okay for the first week and it is down hill from there!  As I write this it is 12 am...I should be in bed taking care of myself.  Instead here I am writing about it!

Well maybe I will just go to bed now and try to take care of me..........even if it is for 5 hours!  Night all!

One Great Thing

Living with diabetes can really stink at times, but it does have good things about it too!  I look back and what I most see is all of the wonderful folks that I have met.  The ones that have touched my life the most are the ones that find the humor in the middle of difficult situation and move on!  They make lemonade out of lemons!

Todays topic is suppose to be about the one thing that I as a diabetic do right!  I thought long and hard about this.  I truley believe the one thing that I do right as a diabetic is that I "think outside the box".  Sometimes my d-team probably believes that I do that to much so but you know what? I AND I ALONE am the one that has to live with my diabetes day in a day out!  I am RESPONSIBLE for my own care and my own choices.  Sometimes I do it right and sometimes I don't but always I am thinking about the choices that I make and how they affect my diabetes.

A good friend taught me take it ONE LOW  at a time.  Deal with what is right now. Face it head on and direct.  Same with high BGS. One at a time.  Each set of numbers is just that a set of numbers. I fix that set of numbers and wait  for the next ones.  When I start looking at all of the numbers there are some days it gets depressing but by looking at one set of numbers at a time I can focus! 

How is that outside of the box?  Human nature is to want to see the whole picture!  If you break it down it is easier to work towords a better outcome! 

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Coming in late but going to give it a try

I had never heard of this before but I think it is a really neat idea!  There are so many amazing folks out there in the diabetic online community!  What a neat way to bring them together!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Cheveyo/Sami Pups

This is Ambush(named after a character in Real Steel).  Ambush is going to live with a T1 diabetic who also has Celiac disease.  Ambush is being cross trained to alert on wheat as well!  Ambush will be living in Duschene, UT.
 This is Bailey!   Bailey is living with a T1 in CO!  Bailey is one of the piranhas of this group!  Early on she alerted by nipping my chin!  When transferred to her new owner, the first 3 days she was the sweetest and politest puppy!  Then the piranha is her showed back when her new owner got into the 60's!
 This is Diesel!  If I had wanted to keep a puppy this lil guy would have been it.  I dont know why but for some reason I was seriously attracted to him!  I love all puppies but sometimes one will get to my heart.  Diesel is staying in SLC with a T2 diabetic.  Diesel is going to be a multi-use puppy!  He will run hunt tests, rally, and a variety of other things.  I am glad my lil buddy is staying close!
This is Lottie!   Lottie is another lil firecracker in this group!   Lottie is living with a T1 diabetic in CO and will work as a back up DAD!  Lottie is being trained by an amazing teenager!  Miss Hot Choco-Lottie!
  This is Moxie.  Moxie will be living with a T1diabetic in MS!  She is already living up to her name!  Moxie will meet her new owner Thursday!
Last but NOT LEAST...this is Sugar.  Sugar was my very sweet puppy!  She had the sweetest disposition as a baby!  Sugar is living with a T1 in Santaquin, Utah!  She has wormed her way right into his heart!

All of these puppies were bred by Elite Labradors!  The sire is my dog Cheveyo and the dam is a dog named Coco.  When I first met Coco I was so impressed by her overall nature!  I imprinted these 6 pups since they were weaned from their mom!  I would prefer to imprint from birth but the results were equally impressive doing it this way!  I will give you all periodic updates on the journey's with their self trainers...but so far they are all off to a good start!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012


My name is Charlie. I'm a DAD. -a Diabetic Alert Dog. I started training on scent when I was only a few hours old. I flew all the way from Utah to live with my mom Melisa who is a Type 1 Diabetic; I watch over her and make sure her blood sugar stays within acceptable limits. When she is too high or too low, I let her know by alerting her. I am a self trained D.A.D., which means that my mom is doing most of the training her self. But she has some help from some great friends and trainers. If you see me out and about PLEASE ask first before petting me. I have a very important job to do and sometimes should not be distracted while I am working.  

Charlie is a very lucky boy!  He has an awesome mom!

The last few posts were about DADS that were born 3/4/2011 at my home.  I am so honored that these dogs and people came into my life!  I am honored that the all found each other!  It is so amazing to me how well all of them are doing!  It has taken LOTS of hard work on their part but they all are amazing TEAMS!

Saturday, May 5, 2012


Barrett's owner have also worked EXTREMELY hard with this dog and have been rewarded for their efforts!  Because they live in close proximity to me I have really got to watch them grow to together as a team!  It still amazes me when we put effort into our relationship with these dogs we get in back so much more!  Barrett's T1 charge summed it up best: "Barrett is the best part about having diabetes!"  I understand and agree completely!  However I also think the Barrett thinks that he and the family are the best part of the world!  I think she is right to!!! 

Friday, May 4, 2012


"In my house the "medicine" that could save you, could kill you. In my house juice box saves lives. In my house parents never really sleep. In my house our days are measured in numbers and "low parties" with treats and glucose tabs. In my house the child must be an adult. In my house they dread bedtime; it's when I work more diligently. In my house blood is shed every day drop by drop. In my house this is the norm. And in this house it's ok to eat candy and juice in the middle of the night some times several times a night.. -just to stay alive.
Type 1 lives in my house; but so do I. I am the Diabetic Alert Dog, Fudge" ♥  by Trista/ Kailey Hermann

Fudge choose Kailey! It was one of the most amazing things I have seen!  Another WONDERFUL TEAM/FAMILY that has done an amazing job with this dog!  I am so PROUD of them all!

This came from Trista:  The original poem of this was beautifully written by Alexis Newell she has an amazing art with words, I just changed a few to fit our circumstances.. ♥  

So thank you Alexis Newell! 

Check out her blog here :

Thursday, May 3, 2012


Tasha as seen in the 2012 Dogs of Independent Living Vernon Calender

Tasha is a Chevey/Whitey Pup from last years March litter!  Bev and her husband drove from their home in Canada to my house in Salt Lake to pick her up!  In the first week alone Bev told me that she had "between 50 and 60 lows and that Tasha caught all of them but 3!"  Those 3 happened between 3 am and 6 am when a baby puppy normally sleeps very soundly!   Bev has done a tremendous job of self training her!

Kudos to this fine team!


I am no one special!  I am NOT SOME GREAT GERU of dogs. I have worked my butt off to get to where I am in knowledge and experience! Yes, I do have a gift with animals that comes from God.  I do not believe that the gift and knowledge is limited to me! I also believe that everyone has his or her own journey to walk in life and with dog training.  Sometimes it is about time, sometimes it is about life, but the END IS NEVER TOTAL ACHIEVED or completed when it comes to dog training.  No matter how much I know I CAN ALWAYS LEARN MORE! ALWAYS!!! ALWAYS! NO ONE WAY WORKS FOR EVERY DOG OR EVERY PERSON!

It is also OK to pay a lot of money for a good DAD, but here is a little secret; you are still going to have to learn how to train it!  You are going to have to learn how THAT TRAINER communicated with that dog! It is very reasonable and feasible that the price tag would be in the neighborhood of 20 K for a well trained fully alerting dog!  However you have to remember that you still have to learn how that dog was trained.  Dogs are NOT ROBOTS!  They are living breathing, thinking, and feeling creatures!

Many people think that MORE MONEY means a better PRODUCT!  It is the way of our world!  I was taught at a very early age HARD WORK pays off!  KNOWLEDGE pays off...not always in money but in success!  I have paid for training. I have paid to learn from others. I have also learned a lot just from experience of watching dogs.  Very often if we don’t pay something we tend to not value it! For example I hate asking 1500 to 2000 grand for my baby puppies but I know what THEY ARE WORTH EVERY DIME and MORE! If you factor in the cost of the litter, my time, and training that price is VERY CHEAP!  The head start that you get with these pups is amazing.

As most know I am a huge proponent of SELF TRAINING! But it ONLY WORKS when you are willing to ask/pay for help when you need it and IF YOU ARE COMMITTED 100 percent to the cause! It takes TIME! It takes PATIENCE! It takes PERSTISTANCE!  You have to be WILLING TO DO WHATEVER IT TAKES TO GET THE OUTCOME YOU DESERVE!  There is no TIME TABLE and life will happen but YOU HAVE TO GO THE DISTANCE…NO MATTER WHAT THAT MEANS!

No matter where that diabetic alert dog comes from you MUST BUILD A RELATIONSHIP with that dog! You have to spend time learning about dogs.  You read, watch, and listen every chance you get!  Sometimes it will not apply to your current dog! However down the road it just might so you need to file it away for future reference! My house and file cabinets are full of books, videos, cds, and assorted other dog training stuff! I learned very quickly that relationship is built through training but it is also built through just spending time with the dog!  Appreciating what the dog gives you in that moment! It is hard to not keep expecting the dog to do more and more, but a dog also needs time to just BE!

Bravo is turning SEVEN this year and I STILL have training things to do and HE STILL LEARNS NEW THINGS!  DOG TRAINING IS NEVER FINISHED! It is LIKE BEING A PARENT! You will always be a parent no matter how old the kid gets, however the roles do change and mature!  WHAT IS IMPORTANT IS THAT WE KEEP OUR EYE OR THE PRIZE! WE LEARN!  WE GROW!  IT TAKES AS LONG AS IT TAKES!

 I try to never bash others for how they do things what I don’t understand is why I and others like me get bashed for recommending self-training.  I believe most people are smart enough to do this! They just need guidance!  I have more or as much dog experience as many of the ones doing the bashing.  I have successfully trained dogs to the upper levels in 8 venues.  WHY??? Because I believe in dogs! I believe in our relationship with dogs! And because I am still amazed by what we can teach dogs and WHAT DOGS TEACH US!  THE MORE I KNOW ABOUT SOME PEOPLE, THE MORE I PREFER TO BE WITH MY DOGS!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

May 1, 2012

Okay all it has been fun. I am glad I have done this…but I think on top of the other things I have going on….I would like to go to a once a week format.  I have learned a lot of things…some of the assignments I enjoyed and some just wasn’t my style!

I hope that you all keep coming and reading!  Have a good May!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Six Sentence Story

The pup rambled around the room, looking for mischief to get into!  He tried to get Bravo to play, but Bravo wanted no part.  He moved on to a bone where he contentedly started chewing!  Suddenly, he lifted his head away from the bone and sniffed at the air.  He looks around the room for the source of the scent, when his eyes settle on me!  He lunges as fast as his little legs will carry him to jump up on me to tell me my blood glucose is low!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

The First Time

The first time I ever knew something was really wrong with me that was just plain old diabetes.  I was sitting in my regular GP’s office.  I had been “diabetic” T2 supposedly for a couple of years.  I took what they told me at that time pretty serious and did as advised!  At that time I was getting A1c’s every 6 months or so, was on oral meds, and kept a fairly detailed log of what I was eating, what I was doing, and my numbers.  My doctor at that time had never ONCE looked at them even though I had them with me.  That particular day when she came in she started yelling at me that she “couldn’t believe that I could not care about my health and would let things get this bad…she informed me that my A1C was 13.9! “ (That means my average BG readings were around 350…normal is 80 to 120) .  She ranted and raved at me for a bit and would not let me talk.  Finally I remember crossing my arms, leaning back in my chair and glaring at her! She finally ask “WHAT DO YOU HAVE TO SAY FOR YOURSELF?”  I shut my log book that showed I had been eating less than 20 carbs a meal and less than 40 carbs most days, it showed the numbers 2 hours after ANY carb to be extremely high.  It showed that exercise did nothing!  It showed all of my showed my weight had dropped 40lbs in about 5 months even though I really hadn’t tried.  I did try to verbally explain what was in my log sitting in my lap when she looked at me and said “YOU ARE LYING!  You are not doing your part!”  At that point I shut up, dropped my head and said “would you please give me a referral to a diabetes clinic?” She replied, “Absolutely….it is OBVIOUS you will not take MY ADVICE” as she slide a business card across the table!  I took the card, stood up and unleashed some of the my feelings….about “How UNHELPFUL she truly was, and that if she had allowed me to show her what I had been doing that she would see how wrong she was, that SOMETHING else was going on.  I had a 2 inch BINDER full of daily log sheets for the last year. She listened and then glared at me and said….”well you made them up because no diabetic has an A1C that high who tries at all”  I turned and left rather quickly afraid if it went any further I would really lose my temper!  I went home and bawled.  I knew something was wrong but I didn’t know how to fix it!  I was ANGRY that what ever “it” was that was wrong I could do nothing about!  The card she had given me laid on my TV stand for a few months finally I found the courage to call and try the medical field again!

I contacted the Cottonwood Endocrine Center and set up an appointment with a CDE/nutrionist.  The day of the appointment I once again took my binder along just in case anyone wanted to see it.  I walked in and was fairly prompted to come to the back!  This lady was warm and friendly.  She was genuine in her efforts to help.  However, because of my past experience I told her I had 2 questions.   She replied “ SURE!!!”  I said’ “Do you like dogs or cats?”  She promptly replied “DOGS!!! Why?”  Ummm…I replied,  “ All of the people in the medical field that I like and get along with like dogs!  I am adding this as a screening process”.   She laughed!  “What is your second question?”   “Umm….  Well can I eat venison?”  “Absolutely”, she quickly replied.  “Has someone told you that you couldn’t?”  I just grinned and said “OK now we can talk”.  We spent the next hour and half going over all of my records and at this CDE prodding I reluctantly made an appointment with a doctor that specializes in diabetes.  In a short time it was discovered that I carry the T1 antibodies and that I was in the honeymoon phase of my pancreas petering out! 

Many things have happened since that day!  While it was “bad” life changing news I actually breathed a sigh of relief of knowing that what was wrong with me was fixable with the right treatment. I learned that I had done nothing wrong to bring on the diabetes.  It had been coming on and the signs were there for a very long time!  My pancreas was defective and NOTHING I ate or didn’t eat was going to change it!  No amount of exercise was going to fix it.  Yes paying attention to those things would help me better “manage” it …it was never going away.

There is a first time for everything…but that first resulted in me truly “taking charge of my care”.  It has helped me work with medical professional to become a part of “My team”! I am not on their team…they are on mine!  They work for me!  A doctor will not bully me again!  If I don’t understand, I am going to keep on looking for someone who can explain it to me!  We all deserve at least that!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Health Tag


On March 1 on this year I started a new business venture.  The purpose of this business is to provide quality alert dogs to self-trainers.  I also provide information, training and support to individuals and family’s looking for a dog with scent based imprinting!

Being a Type 1 diabetic myself with over 20 years of dog training experience in assorted dog venues has led me to start combining my love of dogs with my love for people!   There will be more information to come as things start coming together but I felt this was a perfect time to announce this to the world!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

5 Challenges 5 Victories

The assignment for today is 5 challenges of living with diabetes and then 5 victories or things that keep me going!

Anyone who lives with T1 diabetes will tell you that the challenges are many!  For myself I think the number one challenge is that T1 diabetes is a disease of constant change! You can eat the same number of carbs, bolus the same amount of insulin, have the same basal program for a week in a row and get 7 different numbers.  It is SO FRUSTRATING!  Humans by nature sort of like things to be status quo!  We don’t want our world rocked around a lot.  Yes you can learn to deal with it.  But it is tiresome!  It wears on you! Sometimes you even wonder “If this is what my life is going to be like, is it worth it?”  Tough place to be as the person in it and even tougher to an outside observer who loves the person with T1!  I can’t believe I am even writing about it but it is true…sometimes in that deep dark place inside of us…we get so tired that we question whether we REALLY WANT to live this way!  We search and pray for a CURE or at the very least something that will ease the burden of the everyday crap of living with the disease.  We try EVERYTHING suggested and yet sometimes the numbers don’t add up.  We might even be accused of “not trying” hard enough!   We live with our back up to a wall!  Every stinking day!  The day I found a small victory with this was the day I turned and really took a good look at the wall that was holding me up…the wall that had my back.  That wall was composed of love and care of friends, family, a AWESOME diabetic team, and of course Bravo, Radar, and every other diabetic alert dog that I have helped raise or foster!  I realized by not looking at the wall I was being very selfish and very self-centered.  I have been caught in the “poor me” mentality and realized that I was falling “victim” to this disease!  Sometimes it takes my “wall” booting or nipping” me in the backside to get me to see JUST HOW LUCKY I REALLY AM!

Challenge number 2 of this disease is the numbers.  Almost every aspect of this disease is about numbers.  How many carbohydrates? How much protein?   How many calories?  What does this food weigh so I can figure out how to bolus?  How much do I bolus? How much are my basals?  How much does one unit of insulin normally drop my blood glucose?  How many carbohydrates does it take to raise my blood glucose?  The numbers seem to never ever end!   My diabetic friends when we are together make a game out of the carb counting.  Meters on table and pumps in ready…we then play the “What are you shooting up for?”  Looking back other patrons might think we are CRAZY!  We are laughing and joking and in general having a good time.   We KNOW who is going to overshot the insulin and have a low!  We are pretty sure of who is going to be high at 2 hours.  But we laugh and sometimes we get it right!  Sometimes we don’t but it is the laughter, the knowing we tried, that makes the 2-hour mark bearable no matter what the outcome!

The third challenge of living with diabetes is that it is NEVER CONVINENT! It is always right in the middle of something I consider important when low or a high blood glucoses strike!  Right when I am having the most fun or when I am most focused!  I don’t want to stop what I am doing to deal with the low or high!  As a normal human being I want to feel like I have “it” together.  I wasn’t to feel that I am a valuable and contributing member of society!  As a T1 diabetic in the middle of one of those inconvenient and sometimes life threatening low or high blood glucoses I feel like a FAILURE, I feel like I am bothering others when I need their help, and most of all I am frustrated and stupid that I had to stop what I was doing to deal with business.  We ll have crap to deal with and I get that but sometimes once again I JUST WANT TO HAVE FUN or FINISH A JOB WITHOUT INTERUPTION. There are 2 things that help me when the convenient factor arises!  The first is I think about what Bravo has done for me and what he has given up.  Bravo LOVES to retrieve and his favorite thing to retrieve is birds.  Yet I have been out hunting with him and seen him MAKE A CHOICE to offer alerting behavior over retrieving!  That is how much he knows his job!  The other thing that helps is HUMOR!  It isn’t always funny in the middle of a low blood glucose but after it I can guarantee a good laugh or two!  Thank God I don’t usually remember too much about the specifics of the lows!  One of my many funny stories happened when I was deer hunting in Missouri!  I had a bad stubborn low that wasn’t responding to treatment.  I was in the timber in a fairly remote area of the farm. In the fog of the low blood glucose the only thing I knew was to call my friend Kim!  I called her in Utah to find out if she knew where I had parked the truck in Missouri!  It is good to have friends that “get it”.

The forth challenge of living with the diabetes is simply the amount of “stuff” we have to carry as a T1 diabetic!  Holy cow my alert dog also has to be a pack mule! Lets see in my d-bag I carry….


Low BG treatments

2 glucagon

Med cards

Site changes

Extra lancets/poker

Extra strips

Batteries for pump and meter


Extra meter


Dog treats

Hand sanitizer

Band aids

Emergency Contact Numbers

Small sharps container


Big Bottle of Glucose tabs

This is just from memory without dumping the bag!  A trick that Kim taught me..SET ORGANIZED and KEEP IT STOCKED!  When you use something REPLACE IT!

Lastly and this is another DARK THEME……how about the challenge of going to sleep and not sure at all that morning will come!  Sometimes it is downright scary to go to sleep.  Usually this happens when I have had a really bad day or couple of days of lows!   All I can do and will continue to do it to do MY BEST when it comes to self care.  What is IS and what will be WILL BE!  It is all in God’s hands!  If I do my part I figure He can handle the rest.  I have to remember that!  Tomorrow is never guaranteed so I do my best to make sure that THIS DAY was as good as it can get.  I can’t change most things about diabetes but I can change my attitude          !

I know this post is fairly long and has moments of darkness, but it is truly what some of the challenges and victories of living with T1!  If you can’t have a good day at least have a good attitude!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Third Person

Watching careful!  Do you see it?

It is a beautiful day, bright blue skies with light wispy clouds!  A little boy sitting on the ground under a shade tree!  His eyes have a hollow glazed over aspect to them!  You speak to him and he looks up but it as if you are speaking a foreign language to him.  His reply finally comes but the speech is slow and slightly slurred!  It is as if the words in his brain come out his mouth with the speed of molasses!  Every part of him struggles to move, he knows he should, he knows he needs to, but he just can’t do it with any normalcy.  A small chocolate lab puppy is set down in front of this little boy and the puppy looks around and slightly lifts his head to scent the air!   The pup looks at each of the people surrounding him and then looks at the little boy.  He lunges straight ahead for the little boy with all the speed and accuracy that his little 8-week-old body can muster.  He goes straight for the little boys chin and begins to lick at his chin and then circles to his ear.  The little boy in the fog at first is startled but then begins to smile, his arms circle the puppy and begin to cradle and stroke the pups head and body!  The pup settles in his lap with his little chin resting on the boys forearm.  The pup’s eyes occasionally glance away but mostly his eye’s are on his self-proclaimed charge.  A 6-year-old boy with T1 diabetes!  The pup seems to know that he is needed and wanted here in this dazed state of the lil boy!  As the numbers come up the pup begins to be a normal puppy again, picking up sticks and greeting those who are gathered around.

What you just witnessed was a first alert of an 8 week old puppy to his new owner as best as it can be explained by this writer! 

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Health Mascot

The assignment today is to have a health mascot!  Get bonus points for a picture!  This one is a NO BRAINER!

Here is my mascot and a few pictures!

My Choice

Okay I missed yesterday, but I have a really good excuse!  Actually 3 of them!

My first excuse is that I had a job review with my boss for my real job.  The one that pays the bills!  I got a good review but since he is aware of all my writing and blogging for the dogs, he wants me to start doing something similar to this for work!   MORE WRITING!

My 2nd excuse is a fun one! It is this:

I was blessed to go up to Duschene Ut where I spoke to a kindergarten class about service dogs and in particular about a VERY CUTE lil boy who is getting a new diabetic alert dog puppy named Ambush!  When we arrived this lil guy’s blood glucose was 45 and Ambush went right to work!  Then the kids got to see Bravo alert on me!  After I treated my low blood glucose Bravo and I did a demonstration of various assorted service dog kinds of stuff!  I am pretty sure there are a bunch of parents in Duschene trying to figure out why their kids are trying to get the housedog to pick up keys and pencils! 

My excuse number 3 is this:

Black collared pup has a new name: Asher!  He looks right at home in his new mom’s arms!  He also alerted rather quickly into their introduction!  

Not a bad day all in all, except I didn’t get any writing done!  However, I think you all will excuse me!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Post-it Notes that should be on my Fridge



Pricker and test strips have a 99 percent likelihood of being in the last place you tested!


If you cant find something:  CALL KIM!
She is always moving your stuff around!