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

Thursday, November 19, 2015

A Major Milestone Met

Earlier this fall, I began the process of applying to have Bo registered and licensed as a service dog with the New Hampshire Governor's Commission on Disability (GCD), as outlined in NH RSA 466:8. Registration with the GCD exempts a service dog owner from the annual registration and licensing fees associated with owning a dog. I didn't seek to have Bo registered with the GCD as a way to avoid paying annual fees but rather as an acknowledgement of the thousands of hours we've invested in his service dog training.

While GCD registration is not required by law and cannot be used to verify the legitimacy or authenticity of a service animal for any purpose, the registration tag can only be used by an eligible service animal as defined by NH RSA 167-D:1.

Additionally, the application process requires the submission of documentation from a recognized training agency or documentation the dog passed the public access certification test and a letter from the person's healthcare provider stating the dog performs tasks directly related to the person's disability. 

Because Bo was owner-trained, with ongoing assistance from professional and credentialed dog trainers, we were required to submit documentation that he passed his public access certification test, as well as a letter from Austin's endocrinologist verifying Austin has Type 1 Diabetes and uses Bo to assist in managing his blood sugar.

Austin's endocrinologist wanted medical evidence of the validity of dogs detecting hypoglycemia before writing the letter to submit as part of Bo's application. To assist her in conducting her due diligence, I sent her a link to Eli Lilly Company and Indiana Canine Assistance Network 's study on hypoglycemic alert dogs. I also sent the results of a lit search on 'diabetic alert dogs.' 

The Eli Lilly study, which concluded Diabetic Alert Dogs' sensitivity to detect hypoglycemia is greater than by chance alone, provided the evidence she was seeking. And nearly two months after I had started the application process, I had all the documentation I needed to complete it. Three weeks passed between the time I submitted the letter from Austin's endocrinologist, to the time I received Bo's registration letter and tag in the mail.

Once I finally had the letter and tag in hand, I was able to pause and reflect on what it represented -- hard work, commitment, perseverance, tears, triumphs and perhaps most importantly --  love.  All that has gone into Bo's training and raising is rooted in the love I have for my child, and is symbolic of a mother's innate will to do anything and everything to help her child live a happy, healthy and long life.