Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Gone to the dogs

As many of you may already know, I work closely with a service dog organization that specilaizes in training diabetes alert dogs (DADs). These animals are amazing and mind blowing all at the same time. They are trained to detect low and high glucoses in their handler with type 1. They are trained using saliva samples, and the first time I witnessed a DAD-in-training alert, I wept. Like tears. From my eyes. Yeah.

Bringing these dogs into my home for training purposes has been a blast. Each dog has its own unique personality, likes, dislikes and channel preferences on my DirecTV. Learning each in and out of the many dogs in the pipeline has proved to be both hilarious and frustrating. WHY WONT YOU JUST DOOOOO WHAT THAT OTHER DOG DIDDDD!?!?
Stuff like that. But each dog I have hosted in my home has "live alerted" me to a dropping glucose. Some before my Dexcom, even. The nose knows.

So, this organization I work with approached me a while back about having my own dog, that is with me all the time. They would also want to utilize this dog as a "demo dog" when we travel to spread the good word about DADs. This was pretty exciting to me, as you all know, I LOVE PUPPIES. So we looked at the upcoming planned litters, and then we waited. Mojo was born on Wednesday, May the 1st. He is a handsome yellow Labrador Retriever. His registered name will be: "Chillbrooks BL Mojo Cosmic Storm". Now...I know what youre thinking...that I'm on an acid trip. But really, I just took his breeding line, and parts of his mom & dad's names and tried to put them together.

Mojo will join my family in September, when he is about 5 months old. He began obedience training at around 9 weeks of age. His little brain is like a sponge, and he's progressing well! I can't wait for him to meet my boys and family and patients and friends and neighbors....can you tell I am excited??!

With that excitement, though, comes apprehension. Yeah, I've had service dogs with me before, but never for any great length of time. And they haven't been mine. They haven't been a dog meant to service me with MY disability. That's been a bit of a hard pill to swallow. Knowing that the general public may view my owning a service dog as admitting that my diability requires assistance. Hmmmph. I always strive to be so upbeat and independent, and encourage my patients to do the same! Will they view me as weak? Will people wonder if there is something MORE wrong with me, something they can't see? What if I want to go have drinks with my friends, does Mojo come with? Does Mojo care that I have a glass or 4 of wine? Will people wonder why someone with a service dog is talking loudly with her friends while eating dessert??

And then I feel guilty. I am extremely blessed to be as healthy as I am when it comes to my diabetes. Some families may not be so fortunate, some families may not have the funds for a service animal, some may not know how to ask for fundraising and grant info. So they go without. Some remain silent. So I'm going to take my handsome man, strut around with him proudly, and spend exorbitant amounts of time talking to individuals and families about how these service dogs work IN ADDITION to my insulin pump and Dexcom G4 Platinum CGM. So, here I am, about ready to yank up my big girl panties and change my life completely. Follow me here. And follow Mojo on Facebook at "Mojo, The diabetes alert dog".

Come on, September!

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