Posts Tagged: diabetic alert dog

A Dog’s Nose Knows

I was really busy last night doing my job.

Two times, just a couple hours apart, Christy had a low blood sugar, and I was awakened, making sure she was going to be okay. She told me it was pretty bad because she saw stars spinning around as she stumbled to get some sugar. I was ready to get help and wake up Kevin if she gave me the command.

Even though I enjoy being a regular dog, I’m always – how would you humans say it? – “on-call,” so I’m never off duty.

My super-sniffing nose is working 24/7 to smell low and high blood sugars and alert Christy before it becomes an emergency.

For non-diabetics, normal blood sugar is 80-120 mgdl (milligrams per deciliter). When Christy tested last night, her number came up in the low 30s. No wonder she saw stars.

During the day I alert Christy by holding in my mouth the cloth bar (or bringsel) that hangs from my collar

But at night, I often have to get up and move around, I make a mooing sound or sometimes I will even jump on the bed to get her attention.

No matter how I carry out my job, my nose knows what it’s doing.

A Dog’s Thoughts on Holiday Decorations

When Mom wasn’t dressing us up for Christmas card pictures, she’d take me with her as usual, wherever she needed to go. Sorry, Rocky, you have to stay at home.

I met a nice Santa, but he’s not the real reason we celebrate.

The birth of Jesus is the reason.

Everywhere I went this Christmas I encountered larger-than-life decorations. A strange whirring sound comes along with them. But if the sound wasn’t there, the decorations wouldn’t be either.  I couldn’t resist sharing a few of them with you.

These teddy bears got a little friendly with me. They also forgot to ask if they could pet the service dog!

One of the decorations looked to me like a nice doghouse, so I laid down for a rest.

I met a snowman, but it wasn’t Frosty. How do I know this? My sniffer told me he wasn’t made of the magic Christmas snow.

Nearby was the Abominable Snowman from Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer story. But he wasn’t scary at all.

The only things that scare me are thunder and fireworks. So, remember, if you have a pet who’s afraid of fireworks and plan to celebrate on New Year’s Eve, make sure they are in a secure place with plenty of comfort. I’d hate to have my furry comrades lost.

Happy New Year!

Aiden

Why I’m Called Captain Slurpsalot

Once upon a time I was born and raised to become an official Guide Dog for the Blind.

Things were going really well until they discovered a personality trait that could not be changed. You see, a guide dog for the blind must maintain focus and pass the tests with 100% accuracy.

Although I was very good, I loved to give kisses.

Along with those kisses came the clicking sound of my teeth clacking together, making me sound like I was biting. This is a character trait that caused me to be career changed. I went into training for Dogs for Diabetics and was nicknamed Crock.

I confess. I love to slurp. I can’t help myself. I love to give kisses. It’s my way of letting people know I like them.

I admit it can be annoying to some, but not to Mom. She loves it. She has put on my collar a tag that gives fair warning to those I meet.

It seems to be how people identify me. Those who know me give me more nicknames, like Captain Slurpsalot, or Crockadile, or Sir Licksalot.

I don’t mind the names, and I give kisses whenever I’m allowed. I guess that’s why Mom was given this sign that now hangs in our house’s entryway.

Come and visit and I’ll greet you with a slurp.

My Travels, New Friends and Places

Have you ever heard the song, “I’ve Been Everywhere,” by Johnny Cash?

It came to Mom’s mind while she was helping me write this blog post. It’s almost officially summer and time for travels.

Here’s a few of mine in the past month or two, and some friends I’ve met.

I visited my cat friend, Todd, in Greeneville and I met a sweet lamb whom I gave a quick “hello” slurp.

The Gulf of Mexico had some really soft, white sand.

While I was there, I kissed a shark!

This pier was full of activity and while I sat there, some friendly dolphins surfaced behind me. Unfortunately, they were shy and disappeared quickly.

The same thing happened with a crane, but he flew off to better posts and I had to sit by this one instead.

We attended a Jesus Festival in Elizabethtown in Eastern Tennessee, where they have a historic covered bridge.

After all that, I’m glad to be home and enjoying my own chew bone on my favorite place to sleep, Mom’s bed!

PHEW! I better get some rest because the summer of travel is only beginning!

Visiting Dogs4Diabetics Center, Where My Old Pawprints Were Left

Since moving, I haven’t had many dog interactions; Lola was a recent exception.

Find Lola’s story here (part 1) and here (part 2).

Our trip to California was full of family and friends and one huge piece of business: My recertification with Dogs4Diabetics.

Every year I get an annual vet visit, update shots and get a health clearance. Mom fills out a questionnaire and we go to D4D to meet with Carrie, the lead trainer. She gives Mom advice as they talk about my behavior. I perform obedience skills in public in order to pass for another year.

There were many familiar smells and my nose was overloaded from sniffing. I loved catching up with old furry friends, especially my girlfriend Wolfie.

She’s still as cute as ever. Mom was excited to hug Mark Ruefenacht, the founder of D4D, who just happened to be in town from his many work travels.

As we enjoyed catching up with the trainers at lunch, Mom was asked what she misses most from our move. She replied, “I miss my diabetic connections.”

Truly, D4D, its staff and clients that we both know and love, are irreplaceable. Mom just wishes she could move them close to us.

My doggy heart agrees.

Natural Fur Coats Can Only Do So Much to Keep a Dog Warm

Even though I (Aiden, the service dog) have a natural fur coat to keep me warm, Mom has bundled me up lately.

I guess the cold streak that recently went through Tennessee is not a normal phenomenon. In fact, we were told it hasn’t been this cold in more than thirty years.

It was so cold, the plants on the enclosed porch froze up and the windows were all frosted over.

Mom was sad that her favorite succulent, which she covered up every night, didn’t make it.

Every so often Mom needs to go to the post office and this particular day, there was a sign at the top of the stairs that I had to take a closer look at.

Being a dog, I can’t read, but Mom told me it had to do with the cold and warning people to be careful going up the steps.

This photo was taken from inside, where it stayed warm on the morning it snowed.

But it wasn’t the kind of snow I like where you could make a snowball and play catch.

I’m hoping we will get more snow this winter so I can play in it and have lots of fun. But I hope it’s not so cold!

Knead These Donuts

It’s the time of year for sweet treats and I’m looking forward to having a few myself. Of course, they are the kind of treats a dog can eat. No people treats for me.

One day Mom and I visited a donut shop near us that has been voted the best one in our area for a few years, according to a poll taken by the local newspaper. It’s called Knead Donuts.

A sign on the door displays the shop’s hours from opening until they run out.

From what I hear, they are on high demand and sell out quickly.

I’m on a strict diet to stay in shape and there are rules a service dog must follow like ‘no table scraps.’ That’s okay, though. I get plenty of awesome duck jerky when I correctly alert my mom to a low blood sugar.

But today, Knead Donuts gave me a doggy donut.

I’m certain we’ll return to this dog-friendly shop for more tasty treats.

What’s the Fuss About Dressing Up? My Doggy Thoughts on Halloween

I’m not sure what Halloween means. I’m a dog. It’s just another day for me. But Mom has decked out the house in what she calls “fall” and celebrates the change in seasons.

All I know about this Halloween thing is it’s colder outside and I want to snuggle more, and people wear costumes, putting their fur-babies in crazy outfits, too. Mom joins in on the silliness by dressing me up.

Does this shirt make me look like I’m a country dog?

We’re going to a little girl’s birthday party and I’m Mom’s escort to a tea party. Do I look handsome enough?

This next photo isn’t really a costume. But I get to dry off in my cozy, warm robe after my bath.

I once did a photo shoot for a fundraiser involving Elvia for Dogs for Diabetics. What do you think of this one?

My all-time favorite was when I was Elvis and Mom, the Vegas sign. We won first place in the contest.

I don’t mind dressing up so much. It could be worse. Mom could dress me up as a cat!

No matter whether you dress up or now, or however you celebrate this day, I wish for you to have a safe time to enjoy the fall, y’all!

Aiden (woof! chomp!)

P.S. Leave me a comment and tell me which picture is your favorite.

Getting to Know Tennessee

Aiden and dog sculpture

Many of my readers have wondered how I’m doing in Tennessee. Well, I’ll tell all y’all with a few pictures.

First of all, Mom takes me everywhere, so I get to explore places with millions of new smells. So, you know, my nose is busy. Yet I still keep track of the most important scent of all, Mom’s blood sugar.

We went to Cumberland Gap and did a little hiking, so Mom’s blood sugar dropped. I think she was taking a picture of the cannon behind us when I caught her attention with my alert.

Aiden at Cumberland Gap

For Mom’s birthday, we explored downtown Knoxville, where I found this extra-large dog stuck in play-mode.

Aiden and dog sculpture

He smelled like metal, but that’s because he’s made of chains! Poor boy! He can’t ever reach his ball.

According to Mom, the main street was filled with history, including the Tennessee theatre behind me, where she said a lot of musicians got their start.

Aiden in downtown Knoxville

One day I got to meet a guy called Elvis. I guess he’s someone famous. He sang to Mom and called her “darlin,’” and kissed her hand. Oh! Mom! Really! If I wasn’t covered in fur, you’d see me blush!

Christy, Elvis, and Aiden

No matter where we go, I always try to squeeze in a nap. It’s not always a place where I can spread out, but I’m used to fitting in small spaces from my early training days. I know I’ll get a chance to stretch later.

Aiden sleeping in passenger seat

A Service Dog’s Travel Log

Aiden on butterfly bench

Exploring is fun and filled with new smells. My nose goes on overload, but no matter how many different scents I smell, I keep focused on the main scent to keep my Mom’s blood sugars from dropping dangerously low.

Aiden looking up at Christy

I joined Christy on a ladies weekend trip to the Atlantic Ocean, a place called Myrtle Beach, where I met a pirate.

Aiden and pirate

Running on the beach was a lot of fun.

Aiden at beach

Mom’s friend Tammy took us to a beautiful place called Brookgreen Gardens.  I was on sensory smell overload for the greenery and fountains we encountered. The garden is known for its statues and artwork.

Many of them were of dogs. Christy pet one like it was real since it reminded her of Faith, a Great Dane mix she had when I first came to live with her. I gave her a big slurp to lick away her tears.

Great Dane statue

My favorite statue was the mama and baby bear.

Aiden in front of bear

Nearby was a sitting bench that Christy insisted I sit on. I’m not sure why, but she said she couldn’t resist making me look cute. Does this bench make me look cute?

Aiden on butterfly bench

I’m told we were staying in touristy town. I’m not sure what that means, but Christy took lots of pictures of me, including this one that reminded her I’m a lifesaver, no matter where we might find ourselves.

Shark eating lifeguard chairs

Even if we were swallowed by a shark – but that won’t happen because I do not like water!