Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Ben's D.A.D

I have read on several blogs and other T1 online forums about Diabetic Alert Dogs (D.A.Ds).  According to the stories many families have found these dogs very helpful and more importantly life saving.  These service dogs are specially trained to detect, by scent, if their owner's blood sugar is either too high or too low.

A few months ago Jeff and I considered getting a D.A.D for Ben, but then we found out how much they cost! You could buy a car with the money it takes to train these dogs.  And since the check engine light in my car keeps warning me I might just need a new car soon, we decided against it.

To be honest, even though I had read countless success stories I remained a bit sceptical.  I am a cynic by nature.  Could a dog really reliably detect if Ben's glucose levels were too high or too low? Thing is I had already seen proof that it just might be possible to detect a high.  On several occasions Jeff has been able to smell Ben's skin and detect a super high blood sugar.  I have witnessed this with my very own eyes.  Yet I still had my doubts about anyone (including a dog) being able to smell a low.

Last night, after work I went out for drinks with several coworkers.  During the evening we started chatting about service dogs (I work with many, many pet lovers).  And someone asked me about getting a D.A.D for Ben.  I told them about the cost, which Jeff and I were unwilling to pay, and about my doubts about whether they were really worth the cost.  I told them how Jeff had been able to smell a high blood sugar which made some sense to me.  I assumed he smelled an extra sweetness.  But how do you smell a lack of sweetness?  So we then theorized about how well the dogs could really do this and detect a low.  By the end of the evening, all the dog lovers insisted that we should get one, regardless!

Then when I got home last night, Ben was in the basement playing Xbox and Jeff, Cole and Garren were upstairs watching the Little League World Series.  Soon after I arrived home Jeff called Ben upstairs and told the boys it was bedtime.  So after a few more reminders (the boys never stop playing Xbox that easily) Ben came up stairs and gave Jeff a good night hug.  Then, with my very own eyes, I watched Jeff pull Ben closer and smell his hands and then say, "Ben, before you go upstairs check yourself because you smell low." 

What?!  Did I just hear that?!  Ben went and checked himself, and indeed he was low!

Oh my God! It's totally possible to smell a high and a LOW blood sugar.  I no longer doubted any of the stories about how awesome D.A.Ds really are!

But now I know for certain, we do not need to buy Ben a D.A.D.  He already has a Diabetic Alert Dad


  1. You should get Jeff checked to see if he's a super smeller

  2. Amazing! You should rent him out to pay for all of the d-supplies! :-)