Amazing Therapy Dogs Help Diabetics Live Healthier, Happier Lives
More and more, we’re coming to realize the role pooches can play in helping those who need it. From sniffing out cancer to offering companionship therapy to the elderly, dogs are being employed in all sorts of awesome ways that lend a helping hand to humans.
But did you know that dogs can also help detect diabetic episodes? Neither did we, until we came across an amazing organization called Dogs4Diabetics (D4D).
Dogs4Diabetics trains pups to recognize the unique scent diabetics give off when they have a hypoglycemic episode, which occurs when the blood sugar gets dangerously low. Hypoglycemia can lead to loss of consciousness, coma or even death if left untreated. Though there are often signs and symptoms leading up to such an episode, not all diabetics experience them and can be hit by an episode unawares — and that’s where the Dogs4Diabetics pooches comes in.
Not only do these clever canines help in the short-term by helping detect hypoglycemia before it occurs, but they also help D4D clients avoid the long-term risks that can come with diabetes, like blindness and amputation. Plus, having a tail-wagging furry friend with you at all times makes coping with the daily realities of the disease much more manageable.
Diabetes can also be stressful for the close family members of sufferers since they play a large part in helping diabetics manage their disease. A medic-alert dog helps provide peace of mind for parents or spouses, who now know that their loved one has the support of their canine companion no matter where they are.
And think about it — wouldn’t you be more likely to check your blood sugar on a frequent basis if you got a friendly reminder from a cuddly pooch instead of a nagging parent or spouse? Yep, that’s what we thought.
The dogs are specially bred to be therapy dogs and trained over the course of six-months. Then, they’re provided at no cost to those who need them. Amazing, right?
The only thing holding D4D back from providing even more therapy dogs to diabetes sufferers is the expense: it currently costs around $25,000 to breed, raise and train a single pup. While they currently have 100 volunteer staff on board to help with everything from fostering trainee pups to training and fundraising work, it should come as no surprise that more help (particularly financial) is always needed.
If you would like to learn more about Diabetes4Dogs and how you can donate to the cause, visit Dogs4Diabetics.com.
Make sure you also watch the video below to see the D4D dogs in action and hear the heartwarming tales of those they have helped.
Christina Peden is a lifelong animal lover and avid wordsmith. She lives in Toronto with her boyfriend Ryan where they are proud pet parents to puppy, Matilda and cat, Oscar. In her spare time, she can be found enjoying Toronto, Canada's all-too-short patio season, taking advantage of the city's numerous parks or curled up with a good book.
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