The story of a boy living with Type 1 and his family's journey to raise and train a diabetic alert dog.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

It's Called a Team for a Reason

Morning walk in the woods.
Bo caught two middle of the night lows this week. Both times he woke Austin from sleep by alerting with repeated paw swipes and both times Austin called out to me saying Bo was alerting. These alerts are wonderful and exciting and worth celebrating but we would be foolish to think we can always count on them. This is the exact reason why we will always check Austin on a schedule day and night.

The reality is Bo misses alerts. In fact he missed an alert earlier this morning. We let Bo outside at 7:30 am, he got his breakfast Kong shortly after and then hopped in bed with us to go back to sleep. Around 8:15 am I got up and started getting ready to take Bo for our morning walk. Bo was following me as I was collecting my coat, keys and treats to take on the walk. Before I left, I went to check Austin's blood sugar. Bo followed me into Austin's room and showed no signs that he smelled an out of range blood sugar. Given Bo's behavior I expected the meter to read 130 but to my surprise Austin was 72. I used the missed alert as an opportunity to do live scent training with Bo. 

The missed alert could be explained away in many different ways but I expect it had less to do with the meter, test strip or blood sugar trend and more to do with a young dog, with a full belly who was excited to go for his morning walk. This missed alert is not ideal but it's okay. It's okay because I don't expect perfection. I seek progress and Bo is definitely showing progress. It's also okay because I recognize together with Bo we are a team. We work together to keep Austin safe. There have been times when Bo has caught a low or high we wouldn't have caught and there have also been times (like this morning) we have caught a low or high that Bo has missed. I believe there will be less missed alerts as Bo ages and matures but I don't expect there will be none.

Note: As I was finishing the last sentence of the paragraph above, Bo came to me and alerted. I checked Austin and he was 99 -- in Bo's reward range. Love our Bo!

1 comment:

  1. Ah yes, sometimes they miss. Great post Jennifer! Any number of things can contribute. A full belly, an exhausting day of chasing kids around at soccer games, an exhausting run with dad. And yes, we are a team! So that hopefully at least one of us is on duty at all times.