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Posts tagged ‘alert’

Visiting A Friend


We went to visit Rainie’s best friend today. As Rainie and Molly were playing on the grass, I sat talking with my human friend. Suddenly, Rainie came charging up from the lower yard, stopping in front of me to alert. My blood sugar was 85.

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I Truly Wanted to Sleep In!

It was really early this morning.  My husband is out of town for a few days and I really wanted to sleep in!  But… at 4:30 I was awakened by a nudge at my head and a quick kiss on my nose as I rolled over.  Rainie was standing over me, really wanting me to wake me up. I groaned and reached for the meter I keep by the side of my bed.  My blood sugar was 102, so I gave her a small treat (she’s trained to alert me when my blood sugar is about 100), and rolled over to get some more sleep —  but she wouldn’t leave me alone!  She kept nudging me and ended up lying on top of me.  Argh!  She must be trying to give me a message, so I did my blood sugar again about eight minutes later, and it was now 68!  GOOD GIRL RAINIE!!  She was doing exactly what she was trained to do.  I rewarded her by ‘giving her a party’ and truly tasty reward with a piece of cheese, ate some glucose myself, and we both went back to sleep.

This is life with a diabetic alert dog.  Rainie takes her job very seriously, regardless of the time of day or situation we’re in.  I think that having her in my life brings peace of mind to my husband, also.  He knows that I’ve always got a living monitor, sensing my highs and lows, and alerting me to when I need to pay extra attention to my blood sugar.  He knows I’m never alone.  And I enjoy having Rainie with me for more than just her alerting.     She is my friend and constant companion, as well as being my perpetual blood sugar alert system.  With Rainie in our lives, my husband no longer fears leaving me alone.  And, somehow, Rainie knows just when to put her head in my lap when my life with diabetes has gotten me down.

Rainie and Me (or, My Life With A Diabetic Alert Dog)

8596809522_1e8224dc09_bMy name is Hilary and Rainie is my diabetic alert dog.  We have been a team since June, 2010.  I hope to share what my life is like with a service dog like Rainie.  She is my constant companion, best friend, and, yes, I think she has actually saved my life.

First, a little bit about me:  I am a nurse, diabetic educator/counselor, wife, mom, potter, and one of the initial founders of Early Alert Canines, the not-for-profit organization where alert dogs like Rainie are trained.  One of my passions is to let the world know about diabetic alert dogs.  Rainie and I lecture and answer many questions about what she does and how she does it.  I have had insulin dependent diabetes over 55 years, so I’ve seen a lot of changes in how diabetes is dealt with, medically, and accepted, socially.  Even though I’ve been on an insulin pump for over 20 years, I’ve never been comfortable talking about MY diabetes until I got Rainie. Having her has allowed me to be more self-assure and confident with who I am.  She has been a gift to me in so many ways!

Rainie is a golden retriever, lab mix.  She was born on October 24,2008 which makes her almost 3 1/2 now.  She was raised by “Guild Dogs for the Blind” in San Rafael, Ca., but she was not suitable to be a guild dog because she gets very nervous around cars, and especially motorcycles.  After she was ‘career changed’, she was selected to be trained as a low blood sugar alert dog (also called a diabetic alert dog, or hypoglycemic alert dog), and now she and I are a team, and we assist in training other diabetic alert dogs and the newly formed teams.  Rainie’s small for a golden-lab so everyone thinks she’s still a puppy – especially when she rolls over to have her tummy rubbed when people ask if they can pet her.  She’s such a flirt and attention getter!

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