Diabetes Alert Service Dogs

Service dogs can be an extremely important part of someone’s life who is living with a disability. A fully formed partnership permits people who have a disability to have a higher level of independence within their lives, as well as better socialization skills, more stability, and a friend constantly by their side to experience life’s amazing moments. The Americans with Disabilities Act affirms that individuals with disabilities have the benefit of having their service dogs with them in public spaces, buildings, and facilities.

Approximately 1.25 million Americans are living with Diabetes Type 1. This includes about 200,000 individuals less than 20 years old and more than 1 million adults over the age of 20.  Each year in the United States there are 40,000 new diagnoses of Diabetes Type 1.  It is common for the disease to impair individuals from living their lives due to the numerous symptoms such as extreme weakness, dehydration, nausea, irritability, and mood changes.

CPL Diabetes Alert Dogs offer people greater freedom to improve their quality of life by alerting ahead of time that a blood sugar decrease is impending. By giving their partners time to take precautions, this helps prevent serious injuries from falls and other related complications.

Infographic Diabetes Type 1

WHAT ARE THE CRITERIA FOR INDIVIDUALS INTERESTED IN GETTING A CPL DIABETES ALERT DOG?

  • Must have a diagnosis of Type 1 Diabetes that is well controlled.
  • Are compliant with prescribed medication and testing protocols.
  • Must be over the age of 16.
  • Must live within 100 miles of Cochranville, PA.
  • Must have at least 2–4 episodes a month of daytime low blood sugar without warning.
  • Are willing and able to participate in the CPL Team Training held in Cochranville, PA.
  • Willing and able to commit to a full-time service dog partnership: 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

HOW ARE CPL DIABETES ALERT DOGS TRAINED?

CPL Diabetes Alert Dogs are trained using their sense of smell. There are various odors that accompany different blood sugar levels. An individual will take a sample of their saliva when their blood sugar is at 70, and then the sample is used in training. During the last 3–4 month training period, diabetes alert dogs are trained to detect to their person’s saliva sample scent. After that time frame has passed, the dog and their partner will attend team training on CPL’s campus for three more weeks of personalized training.

HOW DOES CPL COLLECT THE SAMPLE SCENT USED FRO TRAINING PURPOSES?

The applicant will collect a saliva sample on dental cotton when their blood sugar level is at 70. That sample is then frozen and stored, and is usable for up to one year. More than one sample is needed over the duration of the 3–4 months of CPL training. On a regular basis, the applicant will need to bring a new sample to CPL in a cooler. If the applicant cannot make it to CPL, they have the option of shipping it overnight in ice at the applicant’s expense. CPL provides the applicant with sample kits.

WHEN AND HOW WILL A CPL DIABETES ALERT DOG ALERT THEIR PARTNER?

CPL Diabetes Alert Dogs are trained to alert specifically to their person’s scent when their blood sugar level is approximately at 70. At 70, a person’s level is dropping, but they are not yet in an emergency situation. This gives them time to test and use necessary medication before the blood sugar levels drop further. The dogs will alert their person by paw tap or nose tap. Another alert may include laying the head on the knee. If a more obvious alert is needed for an individual, the dogs can be trained to place their paws on their person’s shoulders.

If you would like to apply for a Full Service Diabetes Alert Dog please visit: https://​k94life​.org/​p​r​o​g​r​a​m​s​/​a​p​p​l​i​c​a​t​i​o​ns/