With all due respect to the friends who suggested the topic for today, nothing good can come from comparing medical conditions. I’ve seen people live long and happy lives with diabetes, and I’ve seen the opposite. I’ve seen people live long and happy lives with other chronic health conditions and I’ve seen the opposite. I am taking another pass on today’s topic.
Since I already used the other wild card earlier in the week, the only thing left for me to talk about today is my concept for an ideal diabetes service animal.
What is the ideal diabetes service animal? Think beyond the obvious and be creative in explaining why your choice is a good one. For example, maybe a seal would make a good service animal – it flaps its flippers and barks every time you get a good blood sugar reading! (Thanks to Tristan of Based on a True Story for this topic suggestion.)
My first meet-up ever with diabetes included a diabetes service dog – Dixie – and she was awesome. One of us at the table ended up low after dinner and Dixie kindly alerted before the person even felt low.
My second experience with a diabetes service dog was when I roomed with Becca (and her owner of course) at Friends for Life in 2011. Other than when she tried to attack Kim and I when we interrupted her sleep when we came in too late at night, she was an awesome roommate.
Dogs are great and all, but I am slightly allergic. I think the challenges might outweigh the benefits for me. With a hat tip to Jeff, I think the best option for a diabetes service animal would be my two cats. Not just any cats, my cats specifically.
I’ve had Bes and Rose almost as long as I have had diabetes. By this time they must be familiar with the daily management of the disease.
They don’t like to nibble on pump tubing, test strips, or infusion sites. Diabetes supplies are totally safe around Bes and Rose.
They have no problem getting my attention so I think they’d have no problem with alerting. If their food dish is empty (or even close to empty), they let me know. When we lived in Florida, if a lizard slipped under the door they would sit in front of it and alert until I did something about it.
They love to be rewarded. Rose especially, will do just about anything for a treat. I taught her how to sit and stand on command for a simple treat. They are so motivated by food, I am sure I can train them to do just about anything.
They love to cuddle. At least one of them is within a few feet, if not just inches, of me every minute I am home. They’d be close enough to alert and changes in blood sugar at any moment in time.
I can’t count the times I’ve been woken up at all hours of the night. No fear of not waking up due to hypoglycemia in my sleep. I’m sure they’d just walk across my back and poke my face with their paws like they do any other night if they needed to get my attention.
The only problem I can see with this perfect plan is actually getting them to care about anyone other than themselves.