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Warren Retreivers/Guardian Angel and DAD's

Discussion in 'Parents of Children with Type 1' started by zakksmom, Jul 19, 2012.

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  1. caspi

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    I have been following Sarahsmom's blog and Facebook posts for awhile now and I can assure you she is NOT "one of those". One of the things that intrigued me about her was the fact that she had taken her time researching DAD's and they are going through a lengthy process of training. Following her experiences on this journey have been quite interesting and unlike any story I have read about DAD's in the past. There are no convoluted claims of catching a low/high from 10 miles away, etc. and most importantly she does NOT portray her child as a victim.
     
  2. Sarahsmom

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    Wow, this kind of makes me a little mad. You don't know me but you're making some pretty huge assumptions. I never, ever anywhere told people my child would die a horrible death if she doesn't have a dog. Sarah is the one who has pushed hardest to get a dog for herself. She WANTS to take her dog to school. She doesn't mind the attention, and she's never, ever portrayed herself as a victim. She loves being an advocate for other kids with diabetes. Here's a post she wrote on my blog last night: http://www.tightropetango.blogspot.com/2012/10/just-because.html

    She's an excellent student. She's active. She loves to sing and dance, and often plays lead roles in local children's theater. We have a contingency plan in case she decides she doesn't always want to take her dog to school. I will take him to work. If she goes to a job interview, or a date, or whatever, it will be her choice whether or not to bring her dog.

    In preparation for her dog she's volunteered for a year for Guide Dogs for the Blind as a puppy sitter. She's researched. She's asked questions. She's gone to a diabetes alert dog conference. She is 110% aware of what having a diabetes alert dog entails.

    I would love it if you would learn more about our journey before making these blind assumptions. I'm not looking for attention. I am looking to help others.
     
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2012
  3. caspi

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    I feel responsible because I was the one that posted your blog here to begin with. The reason I linked your blog was because after all of the crazy stories I had read about other DAD's, it was refreshing to read your experiences thus far. The organization you are working with seems to be highly reputable and their training process rigorous (as it should be). They didn't just drop off a puppy and say "Here you go!"

    I am happy that you are having a positive experience and look forward to reading more about your journey in the coming weeks/months/years. :cwds:
     
  4. Sarahsmom

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    Christina, don’t feel bad at all. My blog is meant to be read, and I appreciate you sharing it! We write about our experiences in the hope that they will help someone else.

    The company we are working with is highly reputable, and Sarah's dog will come to us fully trained in both obedience and scent work. He will also be 18-20 months old. We fully understand the commitment required to have a service dog, and are prepared to continue his obedience and scent work at home.

    A diabetes alert dog is a HUGE responsibility and is certainly not for everyone. My daughter loves dogs and is very responsible and ready for the work of caring for a service animal (with our help, of course). Yes, a dog is sort of a luxury. Most diabetics don?t have a dog, so it's not as if we're unaware that we could do without. However, Sarah also does not have the option of wearing a CGM, as she's highly allergic to the metal in the sensor. She is also very active, often late into the night, with theater, and doesn?t feel her lows when she's asleep. We do check usually 1-2 times during the night, but on performance nights her bg can drop dramatically with no warning, and she won't feel it. So we are hoping that her dog will help us to catch those lows that we don't currently catch, or at least help us to catch them sooner. Her dog will also be a loving companion. A blanket and a pillow. Someone to love when she's feeling down, and someone to tell her secrets to. Her dog will also be there for her, and won't judge - but he'll still let her know when she needs to test her bg.

    If you're not a dog person, I wouldn't recommend a diabetes alert dog. They eat a lot, they poop a lot, and they are still dogs and can be goofy and make mistakes. Service dogs aren't robots, they're highly trained, but are still dogs. They take a serious commitment from the whole family. Please feel free to ask me if you have any questions.
     
  5. JamieP

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    I agree with Sarahsmom- wow! You don't hold back on your opinions regardless of how shallow and ignorant they may be. The good thing is that the only person who looks bad after your post is you. I have the utmost respect for Sarah and Sarahsmom. I found Sarahsmom through her blog and she is truly an inspiration for others going through this journey. She is always willing to help others and is worthy of admiration. To Sarahsmom, I say thank you!
     
  6. Sarahsmom

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    Thanks Jamie. I really appreciate your support.
     
  7. Sarah Maddie's Mom

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    In her defense she said, "not saying this applies to you" and fwiw there have been posters here in the past who behaved as if their DADs were the only thing preventing their precious snowflake children from a all sorts of dire outcomes. People who were often complaining that their ill-trained dog wasn't permitted here or their, while boasting of impossible feats of low detection - ie across football fields and through mountain passes.:p

    The topic of DADs has been tainted by these comments and it may make some of us unduly suspicious of the subject.

    I doubt that the above comment was intended to make anyone in this thread feel bad.:cwds:

    And it's really great to hear about a dog doing DA work who obviously is with a great family and who is understood first and foremost as a dog, not a machine ;) Hope Sarah has continued success and fun with her doggie.:cwds:
     
  8. Sarahsmom

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    I apologize if I was oversensitive, but there were a couple of very negative comments made and I wanted to ensure that I cleared up any misconceptions. I'd be happy to answer any questions I can about diabetes alert dogs, as I've been studying them and working through this process for a very long time now.

    I kind of wonder if, a hundred years ago, the first blind people walking around with guide dogs were given the same treatment. Were they told that it's not necessary? That they should just use a cane or a friend to guide them? Honestly, I think that probably was the case, as it takes anything new a long time to gain real acceptance. I get it. My kid is actually very healthy. She has diabetes, but she manages it well. Highs/lows are not fun, but they don't have any lasting impact on her as they do for some kids (i.e. lows only make her feel yucky until her bg comes up whereas some kids seem to feel awful for hours after). She has been very on top of her diabetes since the beginning.

    The only issue for Sarah is that she's afraid to sleep. She's had a couple of scary lows during the night, and she knows she doesn't wake up on her own (usually she never realizes she even had them, as she doesn't even remember drinking juice or anything). Does she NEED to take a dog to school? No. Does she WANT to take a dog to school? YES! And her school is all for it. They think it's wonderful and that Sarah is a model for kids with differences. If anything, Sarah is doing an amazing job of diabetes education. She doesn't hide it (which she definitely wouldn't be able to anyway with a dog in tow), and she's always happy to discuss it. Diabetes often makes it into her school assignments. For example, the blog I posted the other day (http://www.tightropetango.blogspot.com/2012/10/just-because.html) was something she wrote as part of an assignment on the book "The Outsiders" on stereotypes. She was ANXIOUS to read it in front of the class, partially because that class has a newly diagnosed child who is having a very difficult time with diabetes and accepting it.

    Anyway, I digress. I guess all I'm trying to say is that I wish everyone would keep an open mind and ask questions before making assumptions.

    Thanks for listening!
     
  9. Sarah Maddie's Mom

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    That may well have been the case - and I think the seeing eye dog community has done excellent work, which I have donated to very happily over the years. Hopefully the DAD training community will get it's act together and establish real principles of training and better funding so that folks with D are no longer risk being charged exorbitant fees for untrained dogs. As it stands now, it seems that folks are at great risk of ending up with an untrained, unfit, unhappy dog and for this they are charged 20K. So I hope for greater accountability, greater professionalism AND great acceptance of alerting dogs.:cwds:
     
  10. Sarahsmom

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    Sarah, as far as I know there is only one organization charging $20,000 for a puppy. This is not the norm. There are excellent organizations who don?t charge anything, or only a nominal application fee. There are others who charge a reasonable amount for the cost of training. We paid $12,000 for an adult, fully trained dog. Raising a dog isn?t cheap. Dog food alone is about $50 per month for a decent food. Then you have time (lots and lots of it for a good organization), vet care, incidentals, and it adds up. Most organizations don?t have the donations or grants necessary to do it for free. There are WONDERFUL trainers out there, you just have to do your research and ask lots of questions from people working with different organizations.

    The actual cost of the amount of training Scout has had far exceeds the $12,000 we paid. According to Dogs4Diabetics (probably the best known and most reputable organization out there) the value of a fully trained DAD is far more than $20,000. And if this DAD helps Sarah to sleep better at night, and helps her to better manage her diabetes, then he will be worth his weight in gold.

    We had a chance to spend the weekend with Scout last week, and he?s alerting like a champion, and his obedience is stellar ? and he still has 5-6 months of training left before we get to take him home.

    It?s sad that one organization has poisoned the water so much. I completely agree with you that I really wish there were some way to standardize DAD training or have some sort of standard that parents looking for a DAD could review prior to making a commitment. Many parents jump into the DAD world without doing much research, and the results can be a far less positive experience.
     
  11. caspi

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    Yes, there certainly have been some doozies! ;) That is why, when I came across Sarahsmom on FB, I was instantly intrigued and began following their journey. :cwds:
     
  12. miss_behave

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    Unfortunately, it's more than just one organization. There have been several, with at least one that was shut down a couple of years ago following legal action by people who were ripped off :mad:
     
  13. Sarahsmom

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    Okay, one current organization that people seem to be focused on.

    My point is that not all alert dog organizations are the same. Anyone who plans to get a diabetes alert dog should do extensive research before making a choice of trainers/organizations. Training a service dog is a TON of work and most people would not be successful at self training. Our family has volunteered to help with training some of the younger DADs while we wait for Sarah?s dog to be trained, and they can be quite a handful, even when they?ve had some pretty consistent training from people who know what they?re doing.

    Anyone who thinks bringing a dog home will solve all their problems is delusional. An alert dog is a tool, a loving fuzzy one, but still a tool to help catch highs/lows that we otherwise might have missed. We saw that firsthand last weekend at a diabetes alert dog conference we attended. While my daughter does really well with her diabetes, with an A1c of 6.3 and few serious highs/lows, Scout alerted on her quite a few times (apparently altitude doesn?t agree with her blood sugar), finding several lows and highs that we would not have caught for awhile yet.
     
  14. Sarah Maddie's Mom

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    Only, because there have been report after report of questionable DAD organizations discussed here over years, many of us who were around for those tragic stories cannot help but bring those experiences to any discussion of detection dogs. We may be discussing this one organization at the moment, but we remember and are most likely influenced by all those that came before.
     
  15. Jeff

    Jeff Founder, CWD

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    I removed the last couple of posts which were really unrelated to this current discussion. I'm also going to close this for now to let everyone take a break from what is always a very heated discussion.
     
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