A few weeks ago I became aware of the most wonderful animals: Diabetes Assistance Dogs. These dogs can be trained to alert someone when they glucose goes to high or too low. Can you imagine what a dog like that can do for a family, or for a single person fighting their War On Diabetes?
These dogs could be the difference between life and death for a single adult; of going into a Diabetic Coma and dying, or living. They can mean a near normal life for a family with a child who has Type 1 Diabetes. Can you imagine the impact of the dog on a family? Not only do they get a new ‘weapon’ in their War On Diabetes, but a child gets a new friend and companion who will always be on guard just for them. Finally, some sense of normalcy can be brought to the family.
How do the dogs do it? The dogs, a lot of which are a Labrador breed, are trained to detect the scent on a person’s skin, which indicates glucose high and lows before they are ever registered on a meter! You see, a dog’s nose is about 2,000 times more sensitive than ours and they separate scents. What? What do I mean? They don’t smell beef stew. They smell the individual ingredients: beef, carrots, celery, individual spices, etc.
When a person’s glucose goes too high, they have a sweet scent on their skin. When it goes too low, there’s kind of an ammonia scent. I won’t go into the science of why that happens, it just does. When the dog detects the scent that is unique to that person, they are trained to alert them. A different alert when sugar is high than when it’s low. One might be a touch with a paw; the other might be a nudge with their nose. And, they will keep at it until the person responds and takes action.
In many cases the dogs are trained to call 911. I really don’t know how a call like that would go, but am certain the Emergency Operators are trained on what to do.
Are these dogs amazing, or what? Every Type 1 Diabetic and some Type 2’s using insulin should have one, if they want it and if the dog would help them.
I am sure there will be more about these remarkable dogs here.
As always, thank you for reading.