|October 13, 2013|
Four years ago yesterday, we brought Bo home and began the journey that led us to where we are today. We welcomed our sweet pup into our hearts with hopes and dreams that were big but grounded in reality. We knew there were no guarantees the puppy we chose would have the drive or temperament to be a diabetic alert dog (DAD); what we did know is we were committed to doing everything we could to give him the best possible chance for success.
Fast forward to today and boy and pup are navigating high school side-by-side everyday. They are working together with ease. Bo is alerting Austin at school and Austin is responding to his alerts by checking his blood sugar and rewarding Bo. It wasn’t until boy and pup began working independently together at the start of this school year that I finally felt like I could say ‘I did it’ — I reached my ultimate goal of training a DAD for Austin.
The path we took to get a DAD isn’t a path that’s suited for every T1D family and certainly not a path for the faint of heart. I believe it worked for us because we committed our time, energy and resources to giving Bo the best possible chance for success. Additionally, we were fortunate to have an extraordinary trainer in Helen Nicholls St. Pierre plus an expansive support network of family, friends and other DAD teams from across the country.
We were lucky; Bo turned out to have the drive to do the work we raised and trained him to do. Not all dogs, despite their breeding and training, are cut-out to be service dogs — a fact I think about every time I consider training another DAD for Austin to take to college. Similarly, not all families are suited to train a service dog. I’m thankful for our experience and grateful for the incredible journey we began four years ago when we brought Bo home.