Diabetic Alert Dogs
Providing Peace of Mind ...
According to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, there are over 3 million Americans with Type 1 Diabetes and each year, more than 15,000 children and 15,000 adults - approximately 80 people per day - are diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes in the U.S.
Diabetic alert dogs, through scent training, detect and alert for low blood sugar for clients with Type 1 Diabetes and hypoglycemic unawareness. Hypoglycemic unawareness is when the individual cannot tell their blood sugar is dropping. You and I might get a headache or become crabby, but a Type 1 diabetic feels no change at all until it’s too late. By alerting when blood sugar is dropping, our dogs can prevent an extreme low from happening and permit a person to manage their blood sugar in a timely manner. Diabetic alert dogs can prevent a person from attempting to function with reduced mental capacity, prevent dangerous lows that can lead to comas and even death. Diabetic alert dogs also provide a sense of security for those living on their own who cannot recognize when their sugar is dropping. A well-trained dog is more reliable than currently available technology for "brittle" diabetics.
SDV is also developing training protocols that refine and streamline the training of diabetic alert dogs.
One must be at least 12 years old to apply for a diabetic alert dog.
"Opus alerts others to trouble when I cannot. He is my voice for an invisible and cruel disease. The ups and downs of blood sugar swings easily hide from the world and now, even from me, but they do not escape Opus' nose or Opus' concern. He is the security that my body stole from me when I was just 8 years old. Opus gives me the opportunity to get help before it is too late and overwhelmingly scary. Even when help comes in the form of an ambulance ride and ER stay, Opus rides shotgun and curls up on my hospital bed reminding me that I am not alone anymore. He will be with me, he will intervene when my body fails me, when the humans fail me, he will be by my side. He eases the worries of my husband and sons. Opus gives me peace, love, freedom and protection. Opus is a wonderful gift. He is hope. He is love. He has saved my life."
–Jamie Hedman who has Opus, a diabetic alert dog
To view a commercial starring Jamie and her dog, Opus, about our Diabetic Alert program (aired in the greater Charlottesville area in late 2011), click HERE.