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FREE Diabetic Alert Dogs for children of some states soon

Discussion in 'Parents of Children with Type 1' started by Toni, Dec 4, 2009.

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  1. Toni

    Toni Banned

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    Hearing and Service Dogs of Minnesota, phone 612-729-5986 Ext. 157 gives Diabetic Alert and also Seizure Service dogs for FREE to adults 18 years and over. The good news is that they are supposed to partner with Dogs4Diabetics of Concord, CA later on this year when it is rumored the dogs WILL be available for children as well. These dogs can be provided for people in the following states: MN, WI, ND, SD, IA, IL, OR, and MI.
    Quoted from their website below:

    Diabetic Assist Service Dogs

    Program Overview
    We train Diabetic Assist Service Dogs to assist people with Type I Diabetes. They can be trained to:

    ?pick up and carry objects such as juice bottles
    ?retrieve cordless phones
    ?test breath for low blood sugar
    ?act as a brace to help a person get up after having fallen
    Diabetic Assist Service Dogs also wear capes with pockets that can be used to carry insulin and Medical Alert information.

    Typically, the application and training process for a Service Dog can take up to a year before you are certified as a Service Dog team.

    Thanks to our generous supporters and volunteers, all of our dogs are provided to clients at no charge!


    Applicant Criteria

    Applicants must meet the following criteria to be considered for our Service Dog program:

    ?Must be a resident of Minnesota, Wisconsin, North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa, Illinois or Missouri.
    ?Must have Type I Diabetes.
    ?Must be physically and financially able to take full responsibility for the dog after certification.
    ?Must be at least 18 years old.
     
  2. cindyrn6617

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    That's awesome.
     
  3. Kalebsmom

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    Thanks for posting this. Kaleb has talked about wanting to learn more about a diabetic dog. He will be 18 next week and we live in Iowa so he may qualify.
     
  4. Flutterby

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    Thats awesome that there is a program out there that are willing to help out like that.
     
  5. Christopher

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    Almost sounds too good to be true......hmmm....

    Also of note, they don't say the dog will alert to a high.....

    Finally, nothing in life is ever "free"....This is from their website....

    "An application fee of $50 must accompany your completed application (this is the only cost to you during the application and training process)."

    So it is entirely possible for you to give them $50.00 and not be selected to receive a dog. I'm just sayin'.....
     
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2009
  6. hawkeyegirl

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    Rabblerouser. :p
     
  7. KatieJane'smom

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    All I know about this org. is that they are brand new, they called Liz Norris a few months ago wanting to come learn how she trained the alert dogs.

    I'd be really surprised if Dogs4Diabetics is partnering with anyone.

    Oh, and one more thing.....there's no such thing as a free dog. They cost money everyday - LOL
     
  8. Christopher

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    No no.....I am not calling names, not being negative, I fully support people's right to choose a style of tx.....Just offering one simple man's perspective...:D ;) :p :cool:
     
  9. Christopher

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    yikes....that does not inspire a whole lot of confidence for me in this company....no offense to anyone here, the original OP, any individual reading this or any organization, of course....:cwds:
     
  10. KatieJane'smom

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    Are you sure you covered all your bases? Got to be careful around here!

    Before anyone jumps down my throat, let me be the first to say that I mispoke in my previous post. They are NOT a new organization at all - I meant to say they are new to the world of diabetic alert dogs. That's all.

    My sincerest apologies in advance for anyone who takes offense at any single word in any of my posts.
     
  11. Toni

    Toni Banned

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    Unfortunately, I did not realize how MUCH work goes into making sure these dogs alert to both lows and highs. And that it is a continuing process, you have to keep working with the dogs. I think, with the right dog, you could train it to pick up highs, absolutely. But we should stop comparing the dogs with cgms. They are really two different tools. If I had a dog who reliably alerted to both lows and highs who was with E 24/7, would E. still use Dexcom full time? No, definitely not, as there would be no need. But no one has to make that choice. You could use both. We are very intrigued with the dogs, and here's why. Not because the dog can alert to highs, but because the dog can save a person's life. I look at the dog as a the closest substitute for a parent doing the night time checks. If the dog reliably alerts to lows, for us, that is more than enough. I have read about cases of adult PWDs not waking up in the morning, wearing cgms. We would be extremely interested in a dog when E. goes off to college or if she were living on her own.
     
  12. Toni

    Toni Banned

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    The organization trains MANY service dogs. Perhaps the Diabetic Alert division is new. But a dog trained to sniff out explosives would be using a scent. If the seizure alert dogs program is of long standing, that would inspire more confidence. But Dogs4Diabetics was a new program at one time and it is very reputable and successful. Although $5,000 is a very fair price for an alert dog, and I'm sure you would have more peace of mind with Pawsibilies Unleashed, some people would have a hard time affording even that fee.
     
  13. Christopher

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    Are there any statistics, facts, research studies, etc.. that lead you to make that statement? Just wondering....
     
  14. Toni

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    Police departments all over the country use cadaver dogs, drug-sniffing dogs and explosive sniffing dogs. I do not know if they have studies showing these dogs are reliable. Seizure and DADs use scent, as do these dogs. But I consider every-day real life experience from the dog owners "evidence." The dogs have been around for years. I don't think this is new. I supect that the PWDs who have these dogs have searched out the dogs because other technology failed them. I can see this from some of the responses on the posts. Because, apparently, training and maintaining training for the dogs is tons of hard work. I know the police department in NYC relies on the explosive sniffing dogs; they are hard at work at Grand Central when I come in (I come in very early). I always see the dogs. Now, I'm assuming they are the explosive sniffing because I have heard they use them after 9/11 but they may also be drug sniffing.
     
  15. moco89

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    I guarantee you that there won't be any sort of scientific data-"research studies", statistics generated from studies, facts-although that is a broad definition, for the reliability of service animals in detecting blood sugar issues in Type 1 diabetes. It would be the same case for animals that detect seizures, panic attacks, etc, based on the owner's scent.

    There is no way that a scientist could create a credible study over this kind of issue, without defying standard research or study protocols. A scientist, doctor, or medical professional would basically make a fool of one self by trying to publish a study that evaluates the effectiveness of a service animal (like overall accuracy of the alerts) overall for multiple individuals

    There are too many variables that can skew the results of the study or the research related to service animals alerting to medical issues. There is no way that a scientist could create an reliable study design, with controlled variables.

    Here are "just a few" variables that can not be controlled/will skew the results of a scientific study.

    1. In order to have an accurate study, you need several individuals with service animals. About 1,000 people with Type 1 Diabetes, who have service animals that alert to blood glucose issues, would be realistic.

    Problem: It often takes 6-18 months to fully train a service animal, for public access, alerts to lows and highs, etc. This means that there is a limit on how animals a trainer can train. This also means that you would have multiple trainers, from different backgrounds and different levels of experience, training these animals. Some trainers are more effective than others, which is well known in the service animal community. The effectiveness (or lack of) will skew the scientific results of a study.

    2. No "formal" protocol has been developed for training diabetes alert dogs.

    Explanation:Although the "scent-discrimination" training involved with diabetes alert animals mirrors drug detection training and search and rescue detection training, no widely accepted protocol developed has become a golden standard. Particular organizations, such as "Guide dogs for the blind" may have training protocols set up, but they are typically guidelines, since a dog's temperament will vary from one animal to the next. A trainer may have to try different strategies to train one dog vs. another, and one dog may need more training on particular issues vs. another. Also expecting multiple trainers to follow a single protocol is unrealistic, even if the protocol was very broadly defined. The lack of a stringent protocol would for sure skew the results of scientific related data.

    3. (Approximately) only 1/100 dogs has a suitable temperament to be a "working animal"

    Problem: Service animals are subjected to stressful situations, where people/kids/animals can distract and harm the working animal. The dog must have a flawless temperament in order to be able to handle stressful situations, regardless of how much training the animal receives. Also, the animal must have a very high "play drive" in order to motivated to alert. If there is no play drive with the animal, it will not have the proper mindset to alert. Even with a suitable temperament, only 1/2 of the animals with the proper temperament end up being service animals. This means that some service animals that are trained may not be suitable to work altogether. That will skew the results for sure.

    4. What if the animal gets sick?

    Problem: That issue can prevent the animal from alerting properly. You cannot expect a service animal to work or be accurate when they are sick. If they are not 100% healthy, they cannot be working at their best performance. Plus, animals can't speak, so you don't always know when they are sick. That will skew the results.

    NOTE: These are just a few examples. Hopefully you understand my point, and realize that scientific data over a topic like this is like opening a can of worms.

    Just realize that expecting a "scientific study" or "research data" over the effectiveness of diabetes alert dogs is not realistic, so do not expect to have statistical or even "black or white" information about this stuff.

    They work well for some people, but the training involved requires a lot of work, a great trainer, and a suitable owner.

    I find service animals interesting, but I would not be a suitable candidate. I think that it would cause more problems for me than benefits.
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2009
  16. Lee

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    Jimmy Christmas - I thought we were finished with this crap...
     
  17. moco89

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    Sorry. I was not trying to cause problems. I just wanted to address that one particular issue objectively.
     
  18. Andrews mom

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    I would not apologize- I actually enjoy reading about it. Thanks for posting your response. ;) She doesn't have to read the thread if she doesn't like the topic.
     
  19. Toni

    Toni Banned

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    moco, thank you. That was a very intelligent and well thought out answer. For me, that would indicate we would have to go with the well-known trainer who has the most experience with the dogs. If we do get one one day.....
     
  20. KatieJane'smom

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    Moco,
    I didn't want to copy & paste your very lengthy theory on here but if I can remember most of your points....

    If you have read my posts, there IS actually a study that is being conducted by the Barbara Davis Center in Colorado. We will be participating in this study in the spring, though, I don't know every detail about it I do know a few things.

    I know that they are being VERY detailed in the way the study is conducted. It will be done on different breeds, sizes, ages of dogs from all over the country and Canada. They are actually interested in obtaining dogs from DIFFERENT trainers in order to prove that this is not some sort of training trick but that the dogs CAN and DO actually alert BEFORE the meter or the CGMS. The diabetics will range from very young children to adults and will all wear a CGMS. It will require a lengthy stay at the center.

    Ummm...oh, yes! Also, in one of my posts is an example of my dd's dog alerting when the dog was very sick...but still alerted. I know of other situations where a sick dog did not waver in it's alerting while sick.

    I'm sure I left something out but hope this answered some questions. I have a friend in Colorado who's son's charity is helping fund the study so she knows MUCH more about it than me. I, originally offered to ask her to join on here to give details of the study if anyone was interested but they some people were so hateful that I was embarassed to subject her to that.

    If people are genuinely interested in learning about the study I will still ask her to post about it but is my feeling that several commenting on here are only doing so because they feel some sick need to be sarcastic, argumentative, or are just plain nuts! I think that the people who seriously want information have already contacted those of us that have some real knowledge of this subject.

    Disclaimer: This post is not directed at any one in particular or meant to offend anyone or incite another round of non-stop foolishness. Please don't get your panties in a wad over it.
     
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