Meet Brenda PearlmanDaisy is our 4 year old goldendoodle that alerts for my 11 year old daughter, Laura. She was trained by Scott Smith and came to us 1-1/2 years ago.
We began researching DADs in October 2011, and spoke to several trainers by phone or email. We visited 2 places in person, January 2012.
Our greatest obstacle is having Daisy alert to both myself and to my daughter. I am not type 1, but Daisy prefers to tell me when Laura has a blood sugar issue. She goes to school with Laura, so it is imperative that she alerts to my daughter in my absence. We have to do a lot of extra training to ensure that she will consistently alert my daughter during school.
We continue to work hard at this because I am stubborn! And I have seen the positive impact Daisy has made on my daughter’s diabetes management. I can’t give that up, no matter how much work it involves.
I hope that my openness and willingness to share our experiences with Daisy helps people who are thinking about adding a DAD into their diabetes management, understand what life is really like with one. It’s a tremendous amount of work to maintain the training, your child will have to check their blood sugars much more frequently, and not all DADs will alert in every situation (nights, in a car, etc).
These dogs are not 100% accurate, they will miss some alerts. I post many things about Daisy on Facebook, and we have done presentations at JDRF functions. I receive calls from people wanting to know about DADs and speak with them openly and honestly. Laura and Daisy are serving as the youth ambassadors for our local ADA’s walk in October where we will have the opportunity to tell more people about DADs. None of this is very impressive, but we hope that it helps others who are beginning their DAD journey.
There are many trainers and many methods of training a DAD. Every trainer is going to have his or her own methods and protocols. I don’t think there is an absolute right or wrong way to train, but I do wish there was more of a standard that DADs would be expected to meet in their mature working state. (I hate the words “started” and “finished” dog). I know that would be next to impossible to enforce due to there being self trained DADs, organization DADs and single trainer DADs. But, I think it would help protect the people who are buying a DAD if there were minimum standards. I also would love to see more research done regarding DAD’s such as what exactly are they smelling.
Editor's Note: Thank you, Brenda, for being there for our community, with an open heart and willingness to share your dedication and love for Laura and Daisy!