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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!