Exciting news!!!!

I've been awaiting approval to post this for a while...I finall got it today, so here's what you've been waiting for!

We have some exciting news to share from the Taylor household (no, I’m NOT pregnant!)

Most of you know that Steve has juvenile diabetes in which he was diagnosed when he was only 8 years old. Luckily, Steve’s been able to control this disease fairly well through the insulin pump he wears and we are fortunate that he has not experienced many of the side effects that come with uncontrollable highs.

Unfortunately though, Steve’s biggest struggle is keeping his blood sugar from going too low. A couple years ago, he was fitted with an insulin pump which supplies his body with preprogrammed amounts of insulin, but it still cannot imitate his pancreas. When he has a “low”, he goes into insulin shock or what is more appropriately termed a diabetic seizure. Some of you reading this (family especially) have had the experience of seeing this when it happens and it is very unnerving.

These episodes have happened everywhere…the beach, church (while pushing 8 toddlers in the bye-bye buggy), at home while alone with Jenna and while sleeping. However, I think the most frightening place this can happen is while driving. My first experience with that was Halloween many years ago. Jenna was just an infant, still in her carseat. We had taken her out to her grandparents house since she was too young to trick-or-treat. We were just a few miles from home, when Steve commented, “Oh, NOW I know where we are!”. Uh, excuse me…I didn’t realize we were LOST?!?!?!?! Of course, I knew immediately what was going on. But he was already glassy eyed and would not listen to my pleas to pull over. Finally, he did stop at a red light and I threw the car into park and jumped out in an attempt to get him out of the driver’s seat. To make a long story short (too late!), we got home safely that night, but it involved police officers and a LOT of explaining!

More recently, he had a diabetic seizure while driving home from work on the interstate in rush hour traffic (which also means Jenna was in the car with him). When he “came to”, Jenna was out of her car seat and had crawled up in the front seat of the truck, crying and trying to get him to drink a Coke to bring up his blood sugar. Needless to say, this shook us all up quite a bit thinking of what could have transpired. Had he wrecked or gotten stopped, he could have hurt someone or had his driver’s license suspended. I think this might have been the only time he (and I) was thankful for SLOW TRAFFIC!

Anyway, all that to say, a few weeks ago, we were flipping TV channels and came across a talk show featuring a young boy with juvenile diabetes and his mother. Normally, we wouldn’t have stopped to watch, but for some reason we did. Turns out, this woman was the founder of an organization called Heaven Scent Paws. They train dogs to alert when a diabetic’s sugar begins to drop. We were just amazed to watch this young boy’s dog in action.

So of course, when they gave the website, I got right on to investigate. At that time, they didn’t have any openings for the 3 week training classes, but I bookmarked the site and continued to check back. Much to my surprise, a few weeks ago, there were new classes posted with openings. I went ahead and filled out the application not knowing whether we’d qualify. The very next day, we received a phone call that our application had been processed and we could receive a dog!

Steve is set to go for 3 weeks to train with his dog in April 2009. I know that sounds like a lifetime away, but we know how quickly time passes. And there is much to be done…we will begin fundraising soon and all of you will be hearing from us with more information.
We are very excited and can’t wait to keep you updated as things progress. I encourage you to check out the website of Heaven Scent Paws in the meantime!

I’ll keep you posted!!


Stacey said...

What an amazing thing. Training dogs to recognize low blood sugar. This dog is def. a blessing.

Anonymous said...

Dogs can absolutely be trained to detect for low blood sugar. However, I would call the Missouri Attorney General and speak with Todd Bickel in charge of investigating Heaven Scent Paws before proceeding with this organization. The phone number is 573-751-3321.

Anonymous said...

We graduated out of the Feb 2008 class from Heaven Scent Paws and our Service Dog is wonderful. We were hesitant in the beginning, not knowing if this (alerting) could really be done but when you see it work, it is amazing!

Anonymous said...

My name is Barbara and I'm a Type 1diabetic and have been for over 20 yrs. and I attained my Service Dog from the HSP Feb. 2008 class and people who post with regards to contacting the Attry General is because those individuals came into the Feb 2008 class with a hidden agenda and plot, alongside with another Service Dog Program, to bring down HSP. We are more than extremely pleased with the alerting and the services that our Diabetic Service Dog is giving to us. It has given me a somewhat more "normal" life and has given my family more piece of mind. Don't let negativity destroy the vision of assistance you have...go into class with a positive attitude and a desire to learn and you'll ask yourself "why didn't I run across this sooner?" Good luck!!

Anonymous said...

WOW! I went to the class and my only agenda was to get a service dog for my daughter. After requesting vet information 14 times and contacting the company for follow up several dozen times and receiving no response, I sought help for continued trainiing from several sources. All of the trainers who saw our dog said the same thing "this is a loving pet dog, not service dog material." On several occassions his public behaviors have endangered my family. I worked hours each day for many months and have had to start over. Today we got a new puppy, of wonderful breeding, being trained by a private trainer and I have no offiliation with any other organization.

I am working with a group of parents on a project named "Red Alert" to help develop standards for diabetic service dogs and further scientific study.