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Diabetes Alert Dogs?

Discussion in 'Parents of Children with Type 1' started by CaitlynGrisham, Jul 11, 2013.

  1. CaitlynGrisham

    CaitlynGrisham Approved members

    Mar 12, 2010
    I am interested in getting one, as I have anxiety that accompanies my diabetes diagnosis. I am thinking that maybe having the dog around would make it easier for me to keep calm between blood sugar tests. (I am wearing a CGM, but it's the MiniMed, and it's inaccurate with me. My insurance won't cover Dexcom because I'm using MiniMed's pump).

    Do any of you have alert dogs? Where did you get them? What companies etc. can I trust? How much did they cost/is there a way to get a scholarship or something to that effect?

    I live in Southern California at the moment, if that makes a difference.
  2. MamaC

    MamaC Approved members

    Dec 9, 2006
    I see that you've asked about DADs before. This is ALWAYS a hot topic. I might suggest that you look back over the responses you received previously, and do a search on the topic in general. There have been questions about a number of the DAD training outfits and their practices; there are also MANY strong supporters of DADs. There's also very little, if any, scientific support for the special abilities of DADs. A serious amount of research is called for. If you decide it's for you, I believe there are a number of DAD outfits in CA.

    I am a dog lover, and nothing would make me happier than providing my CWD with a loving companion and consistent predictor of BG issues. The reality and associated costs of such an animal prohibits it, for us. I would love it if my very smart dog could offer such things. What we get now, is a loving and exuberant friend who's way more likely to rip out a CGM sensor jumping on my kid, than he is to indicate, "Yo dude, you're low."

    I'm sure others will chime in on all sides.
  3. Beach bum

    Beach bum Approved members

    Nov 17, 2005
    Sure, who doesn't love a cute dog? Who wouldn't love an extremely intelligent dog? But...

    I think it would be cheaper for you in the long run to just get a CGM from Dex and pay out of pocket. I bet with help from your doc you can get a letter of medical necessity to override the denial of the Dex.

    Look at it this way:
    You will have to pay to go get the dog, chances are it being trained in your state would probably be rare
    You have to feed the dog daily
    You have to take it to the vets at least yearly
    You have to buy general supplies
    You will have to wait for a certain period of time while the dog is trained.
    You will then have to do additional training yourself.
    On top of all your school work.

    I guess what I'm trying to say is step back and see if it's financially worth it.

    I agree with PP. You've asked about this before, I'd got and reread the posts.
  4. quiltinmom

    quiltinmom Approved members

    Jun 24, 2010
    That was one of my first thoughts--the cost of a dog is a lot. The time it takes to care for a dog is also a lot. Not everyone's life situation is conducive to caring for a pet.

    On the other hand, it can't hurt to look into it. Or you could just get a regular dog, and see if just having a regular dog that you feel a connection with will help ease the anxiety. Or maybe a cat? (they seem to be less work.) That's what I would try first, if that were the direction I wanted to go.

    Have you asked your insurance company about if/why they cover animal therapy? I have no idea if any companies cover that kind of thing. To me it sounds like a stretch, but it you can always ask.

    Hope all is well with you. :)
  5. Helenmomofsporty13yearold

    Helenmomofsporty13yearold Approved members

    Oct 5, 2008
  6. LoveMyHounds

    LoveMyHounds Approved members

    Jan 31, 2012
    CGMs are much more convenient than DADs (and don't take me wrong - I love dogs and have some :p). Also, by having a service dog with you, you send out a message "I'm very sick, I need this dog to survive". I wouldn't like this kind of attention ;).
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2013
  7. Beach bum

    Beach bum Approved members

    Nov 17, 2005
    I have to disagree. I don't think it sends out a message of illness at all. It would send out a message of "I need assistance of some sort." When I see a person who has a service dog with them, I first assume they are blind, but if they aren't, I figure they have something else going on. But, I don't perceive the person as being in such a dire situation that the dog is their survival.
  8. mamattorney

    mamattorney Approved members

    Apr 9, 2013
    This is so ironic because my daughter was at a day camp this week and met a girl whose sister is Type 1. She told me a couple of things about this T1 girl - first that she was previously on a pump and had to switch to shots because of horrible bruising from the insertion sites (I've been trying gently encourage DD to go to a pump class and she is flat out against it, so this was a "see, I'm not crazy" comment, I'm sure.) and second that she was going away to college this fall (or maybe next fall) and had just gotten a diabetes alert dog because she's going to be away from home.

    Of course, guess who now wants a DAD?

    I don't know anything more, but it was just weird that this conversation happened just this week in our house.
  9. wearingtaci

    wearingtaci Approved members

    Nov 9, 2012
    I will throw in my 2 cents,because I have a service dog that is NOT a DAD.
    Life with a Service dog is not always a walk in the park. First there is no such thing as a quick trip,anywhere. People want to stop and chat about your dog,their dog,their childhood best friends dog..........Everything easily takes twice as long.
    Dogs are living beings and not robots,no matter how well trained,at some point your service dog will embarrass you.
    Even though the ADA protects the right of the service dog handler,most businesses are not well informed of the law. I have to say at least 1 out of 5 times I go anywhere I get stopped by someone telling me my clearly vested,very well trained service dog can't be in(fill in the blank).
    You really may want to connect with some service dog handlers and get some more experience,it isn't as"fun"as it seems to most dog lovers.
  10. caspi

    caspi Approved members

    Oct 11, 2006
    Are you looking for a Diabetes Alert Dog or a therapy dog for anxiety? They are 2 different things. If you are specifically looking for a DAD, you have to understand that there is a lot of time and effort and training that goes into owning one. It's not as easy as paying for one online and picking it up. The reputable companies require months of training. If you have anxiety, this might prove challenging. Here is a link to a website with further information on Diabetes Alert Dogs.... http://www.diabeticalertdog.com/
  11. mmc51264

    mmc51264 Approved members

    May 2, 2006
    My son wants a DAD dog b/c he wants his OWN dog. The 2 family dogs aren't good enough. Here in Raleigh, there is an agency that we briefly looked at for kicks and giggles. #1 DS does not have unexplained lows so that rules out a medical necessity and #2 They START at 20K and you have to go through training and dog has to go back and have refresher courses. Extremely expensive and it is not covered by insurance. I would love for him to have something special, but not for that kind of money.

    I do think they are legitimate, and for people that live alone, they may be a great idea. Just not for my child at this time.

    I hope you find what you need!!!!!!

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