For the Love of Sasha
“Normally, a person can feel the warning signals of LOW BLOOD SUGAR (sweating, shaking, nausea, and confusion); however, some are unable to feel these symptoms and are thus unaware that their blood sugar is dropping or is dangerously low. This can lead to seizures, brain damage, or passing out while driving – Diabetic Alert Service Dog : a dog that gives a trained signal to alert its partner to low or high blood sugar levels.” www.DiabeticAlertDogs.com.
At the age of 17 was the first time I realized I wasn’t aware that my blood sugar was going low. I remember the first time it happened. I was in third period in high school and then I was in an ambulance traveling to the emergency room. I was found outside my neighbor’s house unconscious. I don’t remember anything in between. Apparently I had walked out of class and headed home. The fact that I don’t remember walking from school and passing out in my neighbor’s yard or anything in between is what scares me the most. There have been other incidents as well. I totaled a 15 passenger van because of one of these incidents. The scary thing about that was that I was on a road that had deep ravines and probably could have died or been seriously hurt.
My first introduction to Diabetic Alert service dogs was online. I heard about Seizure alert dogs and thought wow there has to be a way for them to sense when a diabetic is having a low blood sugar. I was right I started doing research to see if I could train one of my dogs to sense these low blood sugars that I have no clue is happening.
Sasha came into my life and began her journey to learn to detect my low blood sugars. We spent a year training her in obedience, service dogs are expected to behave a certain way all the time. Sasha has to be on her toes and well behaved at all times. That can be pretty difficult for an 18 month old puppy. Then after a year I needed to find someone to train Sasha to detect the lows. I discovered that training dogs to detect low blood sugars was a well kept secret. I would have done it myself if I could have figured it out. I had ideas but all my ideas required me to have a low blood sugar and it’s not like I set out to have a low blood sugar. So after my last obedience class my trainers found this organization named Dogs for Diabetics. My prayers had been answered. Slowly she is learning all the things she will need to know. It’s a tough job but Sasha is a very smart girl and I know she will figure it out. I can’t wait for the first time she detects my low. I will be so happy and excited. Sasha will know how to ring a doorbell to alert me when I am low in the middle of the night. She will know another alert when my blood sugar is high. I’m so excited about the partnership we are journeying on together. We are both learning to trust each other every day; she is my heart and my soul. Our journey together will be fun and exciting.