Denise and Jeff Pasko are busy small business owners who operate Lausch’s Moving & Storage in Berks County, Pennsylvania. In addition to running a successful business, the Paskos are parents to twin girls, Rachel and Megan, 7. That sounds like a busy enough life for most, but the Paskos, whose daughter Megan has Type 1 Diabetes, recently launched a local diabetes support group, which, in just a few months, has grown into its own nonprofit organization, Berks T1D Connection.
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Kaydence 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: