Not long ago, Rainie and I went to talk with a Cub Scout troop about diabetes, service dogs and diabetic alert dogs. I had completed my presentation and soon the group of 50 scouts was bombarding me with questions. They were pretty standard queries for a 2nd to 4th grade crowd: “Where does she sleep?” (Mostly on the floor next to my bed.), “Does she always have to wear her jacket?” (No. She wears it when we’re in public), “Can service dogs have other dogs in the house?” (Yes. However, the service dog needs to know that he/she is the most important dog in the house in the eyes of the person that he/she is taking care of.), “How much do they cost?” (Early Alert Canines does not charge for placing a dog.), “How can I get one?” (You have to be diabetic and been on insulin for at least a year.), “Does that mean taking a shot?” etc., etc.
Then came a question I’d never been asked before. “Why is she lying down?” I’d never considered thinking about it – especially from a child’s perspective. Yes, she had been active and alert moments before, and now she was lying on her side with her eyes open. So, I decided to explore the possibilities with the scouts. We agreed that a few reasons could be that she was lying down because it was getting towards evening. And it was possible that she was tired. But then I explained that Rainie was “always making sure that each one of their blood sugars was safe, and that was a big job.” I told them that Rainie did not know that they were not diabetic, but she did know that there were at least two diabetics in the room. She was continually monitoring everyone, all the time; and although she looked like she was resting, she was actually alert and taking her job seriously. Then there were many nods and ahh-hahs.
After the meeting was over, the boys came to pet Rainie. I felt a young scout name Jeffery tap me on the shoulder to ask, “But, does she ever get to play?”
Yes Jeffery. She does get time off to play!