Friday, March 29, 2013

Beginning our Adventure with a D.A.D.

Early in our journey with Type 1 Diabetes, I learned about a wonderful thing, a D.A.D., which stands for Diabetic Alert Dog. I did a little research, thinking it would be the perfect thing for my little James. A dog that could watch over him and alert us when his blood sugar was out of range. Another pair of eyes (or a nose more fittingly) that would care about James and how he was doing. I knew if would be fantastic for us, even Ryan, the no-pet person in the family said that he would gladly get a dog if we could get a D.A.D. Then came the sad news that most diabetic alert dogs cost $20,000-$30,000. Yeah, that's a little out of reach. The process of getting a well bread dog, then training it to maturity to be a service dog is just costly.

Then a little over a month ago, I was reading on a Facebook group for type 1 diabetics that i'm a part of and I learned about a woman named KC Owens of Tattle Tail Scent Dogs. She breeds dogs to be diabetic alert dogs. The difference with her is that she starts the scent training the day the puppies are born! We get the dog at about 8-9 weeks old, but the puppies are already able to alert to blood sugars at that age! Obviously there is a lot of training that has to happen, obedience training, refining the alert to be a more readable and obvious alert, public access training (since its a service dog and will be allowed to go to all publicly accessible places). It will be a lot of work, but these dogs are amazing! Every story I hear makes me more and more of a believer. We are a little nervous about it, just because there will be a lot of work involved, and its a big responsibility, but I just keep thinking if the dog saves James life just one time, every second of the effort will be worth it! KC also gives us a lot of resources after we get the puppy to help us along with training. I feel very empowered in this process and I feel like its something I can do. It will be very rewarding.

The puppy we are getting is currently 4 1/2 weeks old. The litter has 11 puppies! 7 girls and 4 boys. They are all chocolate labs. We do not know which puppy is ours yet. When they are exactly 7 weeks old they are put through a test of sorts that helps the breeder see what kind of personality they have. She spends a lot of time getting to know the families that are taking a puppy and then she determines which puppy will be the best fit for us after the testing. She does and amazing job and I completely trust her to pick the right puppy. We have names picked out for a boy and a girl puppy. We are so excited to find out which one is ours in 2 1/2 weeks! We are so lucky that the breeder is here in Salt Lake, so we go visit the puppies about once a week. It is amazing to watch them grow and learn. I get more excited every time! I've bought just about every dog thing we could possibly need, its like I'm nesting for our new baby, I love it. :)

Here are some pictures I took last night. Aren't they CUTE! I forgot to take some when we had them out of the kennel cause they were just being too fun to play with. :) Look at that poor mama nursing 11 puppies!

This will certainly be an adventure for us, but one I am very excited about. I'll keep you posted!

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