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

Friday, September 2, 2016

The Inconvenience Factor

The activity of Austin's three hour football practice caught up with his blood sugar this evening and Bo was on the job to let us know. I got his first alert as I was putting away laundry in Austin's room. I felt Bo's paw swipe but Austin saw it and told me he had to check before I said anything. The meter read 86. I rewarded Bo while Austin ate a snack. Seventeen minutes later Bo re-alerted me. Austin re-checked; he was still 86.

If you're fortunate enough to have a DAD that consistently and reliably alerts, you can expect being alerted and re-alerted. Sometimes it's not convenient to stop what you're doing to validate a re-alert and reward it with food and or a game. (i.e., It's the middle of the night and you want to go back to sleep. You're leaving for work and you're already late.)  But, it's always important to validate the alert in a timely manner and reward or watch it based on the number.  It's been my experience that following a consistent process for responding to alerts is key to maintaining Bo's work ethic and ultimately our team's success. 

As Austin prepares to take Bo to school full-time this month, I've talked with him a lot about the importance of responding to Bo's alerts immediately. As a 14-year-old boy, he doesn't always want to stop his activity to check in response to an alert. (Also, he sometimes thinks he knows better than Bo despite Bo proving him wrong on several occasions.) When I'm with him, I will check for him as he continues what he's doing. At school the responsibility will fall on him. I know he can do it.  I expect he and Bo will become a stronger team as they work more on their own and less with me.