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Posts tagged ‘non-profit’

In My Humble Opinion

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Dear Reader,

At this time of year we are all asked to donate to many different non-profit organizations or charities like the Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, JDRF, the ADA, the Sierra Club, the local food bank, etc.  Many of these we are extremely passionate about – my favorite being, Early Alert Canines (EAC).

Before donating, I ask you to please consider the impact your donation has on a small organization versus a large, well-established one. For example, a $2000 donation to EAC covers approximately 1% of our entire working budget (and provides 10% of the cost of a dog), where the same donation to one of the larger organizations is an unnoticeable fraction of a percent of operating or research costs.

In addition, many smaller non-profits cater to current needs and relief, and rely more upon individual donors than the larger organizations, which have greater access to government and corporate sponsorships and grants.

I ask you to take this into consideration when you make your gifts.

Sincerely,

Hilary

 

 

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Given as a gift

This YouTube video was made by one of Early Alert Canine’s newest teams as a Christmas gift to EAC’s head trainer.  Valerie does a wonderful job of explaining about life with Type 1 diabetes (T1D), as well as the role a diabetic alert dog, and the impact that one has on the life of the diabetic, family and community.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OlHdzrZzfXI

Please, enjoy the show!

~Hilary and Rainie

 

Doing something I love

Rainie and I have been busy getting ready for my 2nd annual fundraising ceramics sale for Early Alert Canines.  This is an exciting time – I’m spending what feels like hours a day throwing pots, waiting for pieces to dry, glazing and firing in my kiln.  And Rainie is always ‘on alert’, warning me when my blood sugars are changing – which they do a lot while I’m working with the clay and throwing on the potter’s wheel.

All proceeds of this sale go towards the training of the dogs and teams at EAC.  Being a non-profit organization, we are always in the process of fundraising.  Fortunately I can help while doing something I love.

Ceramics Flyer

Three New Teams Graduate at Early Alert Canines!

"Lucy" and her boys

“Lucy” and her boys

Yesterday, Early Alert Canines celebrated another major milestone.

Three diabetic alert dogs teams were officially ‘handed their leashes’ in an emotional graduation ceremony.*  One team consisted of “Mr. Brooks”, a petite, yellow Labra-doodle and his new mistress, a long-term diabetic, soon to be retired, who lives alone.  However, for two of these celebrated teams, the ‘clients’ are actually families with multiple diabetic members.  In one family, “Lucy”, a happy and energetic yellow Lab-golden retriever mix, watches over a family with three young boys, two of whom have diabetes; and in the other family, “Bender”, a mellow, loving, gigantic black Lab/golden retriever mix alerts to three home-schooled children and their father.

All of these dogs are alerting to both high and low blood sugars.  Lucy and Bender have been trained to alert one of the parents if their charges’ blood sugars are dropping at any time, day or night.  One of Lucy’s ‘guys’ cannot sense his blood sugar at all (called hypoglycemic unawareness), and her special skills and talents are especially important for this ‘human partner’.  In the five months since the dogs have been placed in their new homes, there has been a decrease in the number of ‘dangerous lows’ and ‘unbelievable highs’, and an overall improvement of the diabetics’ blood sugar levels.  These are very busy dogs!

We like to say that diabetic alert dogs (DADs) are life-saving dogs and a diabetic’s best friend.  They are trained to alert when a diabetic’s blood sugar drops rapidly so that steps can be taken to prevent serious situations.   And low blood sugar can lead to unconsciousness and death.   So, yes, they can literally help save lives.

They also help to save lives in a more figurative manner. Their warnings help to bring a sense of peace of mind and security by providing yet another ‘warning system’ to keep the diabetic’s blood sugar in check.  The dogs can often sense the fact that the blood sugar is going to drop, before it actually does, thereby giving a truly advanced warning of impending danger.  They provide a sense of companionship for the diabetic, and another “set of eyes and ears” (and nose – in this case), for parents of diabetics.  For the parent of a young diabetic, the dogs help allow for a more restful day and secure sleep, knowing the trained DAD will alert them, even waking them up at night, and bring the parent to the appropriate child if there are multiple diabetic children; and for parents of older diabetic children, say, in college, it is a comfort for the parent to know that, even when away, their child has another ‘early warning system’.  And for the ‘more mature’ single person with diabetes, the DAD helps provide the same physical security and companionship, peace of mind for self, family and friends, and the knowledge, to all, that self or loved-one has another helping ‘nose’ and is never alone.

CONGRATULATIONS to all the teams, old and new.  May you continue to have a life of fulfillment and happiness, and peace of mind.

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* To achieve “graduation status”, the new teams must demonstrate an 85% or better alerting accuracy rate.  This means that the dog must correctly alert t >85% of the blood sugar changes tested and recorded by the diabetic client, in multiple and various situations; and the client must recognize the alert and respond appropriately.

 

 

Service Dogs Pick Up Scent of Diabetes Danger

Here is an incredible article posted by the Wall Street Journal (December 10, 2012) that does a phenomenal job explaining the life saving role and purpose of Diabetic Alert Dogs.

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Service Dogs Pick Up Scent of Diabetes Danger

By KATE LINEBAUGH

About two times a night, Shana Eppler wakes up to an alarm and slips into her daughter Abbie’s room to test the 8-year-old’s blood sugar.

The growing field of diabetic-alert dogs that save their diabetic owners’ lives by sniffing out when blood sugar levels get out of whack.
 

 Diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at the age of 4, Abbie experiences low blood-sugar levels, a potentially dangerous condition known as hypoglycemia that can cause the loss of consciousness.

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Celeste, a yellow Labrador, has been at the side of 15-year-old Type 1 diabetes patient Dylan Calamoneri for about a year.
 

The alarm Ms. Eppler uses to avoid a health emergency is a furry one named Gracie, an 70-pound, 3-year-old British Labrador retriever trained to sniff out high and low blood-sugar levels. When Abbie’s sugar level rises or falls below a certain target at night, Gracie rings a bell and Ms. Eppler gets up.”The scenting part comes naturally,” says Ms. Eppler, of Colorado Springs, Colo. “They are hunting blood sugars instead of ducks.”

Diabetic, or hypoglycemic, “alert dogs” are a growing class of service dogs best known for guiding the visually impaired, sniffing out drugs and bombs, or providing mobility assistance for people with severe disabilities. Most recently, they have been trained to sniff out cancer and oncoming seizures. Toni Eames, president of International Association of Assistance Dog Partners, estimates there are over 30,000 assistance dogs working in the U.S., including dogs that have been trained by individuals.

The dog’s accuracy and speed can beat medical devices, such as glucose meters and continuous glucose monitors, according to doctors, owners and trainers. With their acute sense of smell, the dogs—mostly retrievers—are able to react to a scent that researchers haven’t yet identified.

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Eight-year-old Abbie Eppler has avoided health emergencies thanks to Gracie, a 70-pound British Labrador retriever who wakes up Abbie’s mother when the child’s blood-sugar level rises or falls below a certain target at night.

For centuries, doctors diagnosed diabetes by identifying sweetness in the urine of a patient. That scent comes from glucose that isn’t absorbed when a person lacks insulin, but the chemicals produced during low-blood-sugar incidents have yet to be identified.

“Whatever is being secreted in that drop in blood sugar…we just don’t know what it is,” says Dana Hardin, a pediatric endocrinologist who works for Eli Lilly & Co. in Indianapolis. Her goal is to identify what chemical compound the dogs smell, “not only to train dogs but to possibly make a device,” she says.

Most of the interest in diabetic-alert dogs comes from people with Type 1 diabetes—and parents of children with Type 1—because they are more susceptible than people with Type 2 diabetes to serious problems of low blood sugar. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease characterized by the absence of insulin production, and requires daily insulin injections. People with Type 2, which is brought on by a combination of genetics, inactivity and obesity, have trouble processing insulin but don’t necessarily require external insulin.

Incidence of Type 1 has been rising in the U.S. by about 2.5% to 4% a year for reasons scientists can’t explain, according to several large-scale studies published in peer-reviewed medical journals. The number of people with Type 1 diabetes in the U.S. is between 1.3 million and 2.6 million, accounting for 5% to 10% of the total diabetic

Type 1 diabetics work to balance their daily intake of carbohydrates with external insulin. Prolonged high sugar levels can lead to complications such as heart disease, kidney failure and neuropathy. But trying to keep sugars at a low level raises the risk of hypoglycemia, which can be lethal, particularly if a patient loses consciousness while driving or alone.

Many people develop a condition known as hypoglycemia unawareness, meaning they no longer feel the hunger, listlessness and irritability that typically alerts diabetics that their blood-sugar level is falling.

“They don’t get the signs. They just can be having a normal conversation, go from feeling fine to passing out,” says Dr. Hardin.

Diabetics can use technologies such as continuous glucose monitors to help prevent these episodes, but these don’t record blood-sugar drops until after they happen. So hypoglycemic-alert dogs can be lifesavers, says Dr. Hardin, who presented the first scientific research on the dogs at this year’s annual American Diabetes Association conference in Philadelphia.

Using perspiration samples from patients whose sugars were below 65 milligrams a deciliter—normal is 80-120 mg/dL—she trained a two-year-old Labrador/Golden retriever mix to recognize low blood-sugar samples placed in blinded containers on a Lazy Susan-like wheel. Modeled after how police sniffing dogs are trained, trainers around the country use similar techniques. Dr. Hardin’s dog was then paired with Dustin Hillman, a 36-year-old patient who suffered severe hypoglycemic unawareness.

Before he got the dog, Mr. Hillman lost consciousness due to hypoglycemia more than six times over the previous two weeks, requiring emergency services. In the three months after, the owner only lost consciousness once and never required emergency service, according to the study.

Since having Tippy—short for Tippecanoe—Mr. Hillman has finished his dissertation and will receive his Master’s in Chemistry on Sunday from Purdue University. He had been on the verge of dropping out of school and moving back in with his parents, he says.

A fully trained diabetic-alert dog can cost as much as $20,000. Many families conduct fundraisers to afford them. Nonprofit training centers offer dogs free of charge, or ask for a nominal fee, but the waiting lists are long.

Andrea Calamoneri, whose 15-year-old son Dylan has had Type 1 diabetes for nearly a decade, said she was initially skeptical. “I wasn’t about to trust my son’s life to something that is voodoo,” she says. Seeing a dog respond to a low sugar reading convinced her. “It gives you chills when you see it happen.”

Celeste, a 60-pound yellow Labrador, has been at Dylan’s side for about a year. A few weeks ago, when Dylan got home from a 2½-hour wrestling practice, Ms. Calamoneri expected his sugars to drop. By bedtime, they hadn’t. In the middle of the night, Celeste nudged the Danville, Calif., mother of three awake. Dylan’s sugar level was 56, well below the target of 80.

“Your first reaction when you wake up is you almost want to say go back to bed, but you have to trust her and, sure enough, she’s right,” Ms. Calamoneri says.

She says the dog has alerted them of a pending drop in blood sugar well before the drop occurred. Celeste has missed an occasional alert, she says, which she attributes to a busy day when the dog got overly tired. Mostly, the dog naps whenever she is able, and typically the smell of a dropping sugar level will jolt her awake, Ms. Calamoneri says.

Interest in diabetic-alert dogs is rising, says Ed Peebles, president of the Las Vegas-based National Institute for Diabetic Alert Dogs, who says he gets up to 20 applications for a dog daily.

A family business his mother, a nurse, started a decade ago, the for-profit group has four locations, is hiring trainers and can’t prepare enough dogs to keep up with demand, Mr. Peebles says. He charges $18,000 for one fully trained dog between 10 months and a 1½ years old.

“We have seen a huge, huge spike in interest,” Mr. Peebles said. “I am five dogs behind.”

Ms. Eppler’s dog, Gracie, is always working. She bows to signal a low blood sugar and waves a raised paw to show a high level. When Gracie waves and then bows, it means that Abbie’s sugar is high but falling. “Rarely will Gracie let Abbie get below 90,” she says. “We joke that they are angels with fur.”

Write to Kate Linebaugh at kate.linebaugh@wsj.com

Early Alert Canines’ “The Scentinel” Issue 2

Early Alert Canines is pleased to release the second issue of “The Scentinel!”

http://library.constantcontact.com/download/get/file/1108404407988-31/November2012.pdf

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EAC Graduation Press Release

Here is the link to today’s news article about Early Alert Canines‘ recent graduation!

http://www.contracostatimes.com/ci_21517520/diabetics-best-friend-and-zealous-lifesaver?IADID=Search-www.contracostatimes.com-www.contracostatimes.com