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Diabetic Alert Dogs Save Lives


alert dogsKaydence Ney is like a lot of other four-year-old girls: she loves playing dress-up, being a big sister, playing princess, and dreaming of her very own puppy....a puppy that could cost as much as $20,000.

This puppy may be well worth the money, however. The specially-trained canine would be able to sense changes in blood sugar levels and could be life-saving for people like Kaydence, who was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes shortly after turning three years old. Ever since then, she has been under the constant, watchful eye of her mother, Tammy, who wakes to an alarm every few hours each night to check on her daughter.

"She has to be under 24-hour observation," Tammy was quoted in a recent article published in her local newspaper, the Standard Speaker . "That's why I looked into the dog."

Diabetes alert dogs are trained to sense and recognize the early signs of an oncoming hypoglycemic episode 25 to 40 minutes before a diabetic meter, according to Dan Warren of Warren Retrievers’ Guardian Angel Service Dogs. The theory behind these remarkable pooches is that they can smell chemical changes in a person’s body before the obvious physical effects of high or low blood sugar set in. Companies like Guardian Angel Service Dogs then strategically train these dogs to alert people to those chemical changes. However, that training is not easy...or cheap.

According to Beverly Schwartz of All Purpose Canines, training can take up to two years and cost up to $20,000. “It’s very time-consuming and intense to get the dog to be at least 85 percent accurate,” she explained in an article in the popular Diabetes Forecast magazine.

For Kaydence’s parents, there is no question that these dogs are well worth it, despite the hefty price tag.

"These dogs are lifesavers," Tammy said.

To assist with the cost, the family has organized fundraising efforts called “K-9 for Kaydence.” They plan on hosting fundraisers in their community as well as collecting general donations.

To learn more about diabetic alert dogs and service dog organizations, please visit the following websites: describe the image


I think the bond between an animal and their owner can make them alert to all kinds of physical changes, good and bad. As a WLS patient with sugar induced hypoglycemia, I can see how an animal like those above could help someone like me as well. Very cool!
Posted @ Wednesday, July 13, 2011 2:44 PM by Linda
Can they do this with cats too? I LOVE cats. One time I pretended to be allergic to dogs so that my boyfriend would get rid of his and get a cat. Hehe
Posted @ Wednesday, July 13, 2011 2:59 PM by Cynthia Wallabee
Lindsey - Isn't it amazing what our pets can do? Thank you so much for sharing your story about Elle - it sounds like you are very lucky to have her!
Posted @ Thursday, July 14, 2011 8:25 AM by Emily
Linda - Thank you for your comment! I think you're right - one of these dogs would probably be a good fit for someone like you :)
Posted @ Thursday, July 14, 2011 8:30 AM by Emily
Cynthia - How funny! I've never heard of any organizations that do this with cats, but I do think there is something to be said for that bond you have with your pet. If they are "in tune" with you, they may be able to pick up on some of those changes as well...but I would have to research further to know for sure!
Posted @ Thursday, July 14, 2011 8:34 AM by Emily
my heart goes out to you and your little girl, we have just found out that my 8 year old grandaughter has type 1 diabetes and is in giesnger hospital,we heard about these dogs through your story and would love to know how about doing this for our genavie, we live in macadoo,this is so overwelming for us as i know it is for yous we wish you and your daughter the very best and will always be in our prayers, patty
Posted @ Tuesday, July 19, 2011 12:05 PM by patty
Patty - I'm so sorry to hear that about your granddaughter...she must be a brave girl! Wishing your family the best. -Emily
Posted @ Wednesday, July 20, 2011 8:11 AM by Emily
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