Friday, September 20, 2013

Teen Type 1 and Diabetic Alert Dog Trainer, Zakk!

Meet Zakk Wrabiutza
(pronounced "Rabitza")

  Diabetic Alert Dogs By Zakk

This amazing young man has been along his journey and working with diabetic alert dogs for two years.
I had the pleasure of meeting Zakk's mom, Donna, through an online FB group last year. Both her husband and my family were attending a DAD conference in Southern California. We all ended up in the same breakout session together and got to know one another! Bill (pictured below) is a great guy, and we stood talking one day when he shared Zakk's vision to become a trainer. I said, 

"Wow, wouldn't that be something, the actual kids with these dogs, being the next generation of trainers. That's great."
-and I've been cyber-stalking this amazing kid and his family ever since!
Having caught up with Donna recently, she helped me gather some details to share with you all on how Zakk runs his business. Here were my direct questions and her answers:

Q. What have been your greatest obstacles?
 A. The DAD Industry does not stand as one and is very cliquish

Q. Why do you continue? A. Because we know the true value of what a great DAD can bring to a family

Q. How do you feel you are impacting the type 1 community? A. By offering working DADs with lifetime support

Q. Do you feel there can be more done? If so, what would it look like? A. Bringing awareness to the DAD community
Q. What makes your process (or situation) unique/different? A. Zakk is a Type 1 Diabetic and trains DADs for others

Q. How many dogs have you worked with/placed that you would confidently say are successfully placed? A. Zakk is currently working with three DADs

Q. How are you involved with the families for the lifetime of their DAD? A. Consistent communication with the family helps build a successful DAD team-
Q. Does every applicant that comes to you for a DAD “get in”? Why or why not? A. Every family is not a fit for a DAD, making a successful team requires consistent effort for each family member-

Q. What do you look most for in a dog to do this job? A. Stability, willingness to work, prey driven and wanting to be with a human, typically make a great DAD-

Q. How long can one expect to wait from start to “finish” in being placed with one of your dogs… Does the wait time fluctuate? A. Zakks DADs are typically ready for placement at 8-12 months of age. They are trained for live low scent work, obedience, public access and home manners- the team will go through a training process with Zakk by their side for the life of the DAD-

Location:Anderson, South Carolina
Available to: USA 
Price Range: 4,500-18,000  
Zakk Wrabiutza (864) 314-1804
                                 Successful Placement DAD Team "Maggie and Neveah"
Zakk recently made HEADLINES when an emergency stop to his local McDonald's (from a blood sugar low) landed in a managerial issue because of his service dog. Despite local police officer presence AND advocacy, he was almost asked to leave. Zakk does carry this around in his wallet at all times, but it did not make any difference.

Click here below for story!

ZAKK and ANNIE, his personal DAD.

Watch Annie retrieve a JUICE AND METER KIT!

1 comment:

  1. We are one of the 3 placed dogs and I cam say Zakk and his family are amazing!!!! Shelby was placed with us in December and is my 5 year old daughters DAD, she was diagnosed in September of 2013 (yes, nearly 6 months ago). I can honestly say without a doubt that Shelby, our nearly 10 month old DAD, has saved Riley's life on multiple occasions. She is hypo unaware and Shelby has alerted at night (multiple times), in the car, out in public, during play, etc. We love Zakk, Donna, and Bill and are thankful for them each and every day. They never sugar coated the work and difficulty of having a DAD, and they are always there to celebrate the good and support the bad!