Things Are Changing!

The migration of TuDiabetes has begun

Content created between now and the launch of our new site on April 20th will NOT be moved to that new home, but our community values and Terms of Service still apply during this time.We are not accepting new members during this transition period. If you want to join the TuDiabetes community please send an e-mail to We will send you an invitation to join after the migration is completed.

Read about the migration and see images of the new site!

I've been reading a bit on this forum and it looks like you have to meet certain criteria to get a DAD. I'm wondering, what are the criteria and what happens if you don't meet them? Does it mean there is no way to get a dog? Or could you get a dog that doesn't have all of the privileges of a SD (like maybe you wouldn't be able to bring it anywhere you go like you can a SD)? Would it mean it would be harder to fund the dog (not sure if insurance kicks anything in)?

I'm curious bc I'm pretty sure I wouldn't currently meet the criteria. I haven't had all that much trouble with highs and lows. But one of the reasons I haven't had too much trouble is that my husband catches a lot of my lows. He will often wake me up in the middle of the night with a glass of juice and tell me that I was breathing funny. I don't know how he does it -- it's not that he's always lying there awake listening to me breathe. And, in fact, both of our kids sleep in our bedroom in between us, so he's not even all that close to me. It's a little odd. But I *rely* on it. Otoh, if I have a low during the night that isn't caught, I wake up with a bs of nearly 400, I do a big bolus and life goes on. I'm not sure if anyone would see my situation as a problem. But I've been thinking about a DAD ever since my husband mentioned that he was going to start traveling a bit for work again. He won't be gone much, but my first thought was ACK! What will I do at night? I suppose I'll just let my bs run high, but obviously that's not ideal.

I am not thinking that I want to get a DAD for the few nights that my husband will be gone, but that situation just alerted me to the fact that if something were to happen that meant we weren't together... I would be pretty scared about this. So, I like the idea that there is an alternative out there that would allow me to be more independent if I needed to be (so far, I enjoy the hubby ;) ).

Views: 274

Replies to This Discussion

Yes, you are correct as far a criteria for "qualifying" to use a service dog. Here goes:

For the dog to have "full" service dog access "in public" you (the diabetic) must suffer from hypo-glycemic unawareness, that is the life threatening situation that qualifies a diabetic (in the USA), under the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act). The ADA recognizes the person's illness and then protects a properly "task trained" service dog team. However, even a full service dog doesn't have any rights when not accompanying their "disabled" person. My qualifying questions are: Have you been found unconscious suffering from a low have people had to call 911 for you experiencing a low bs? Do you ever test and are surprised by a low bs number that you did not feel coming?
Each DAD training program will have their own criteria for dog placement, however, it would harm a program's reputation to be placing dogs with diabetics that do not qualify per the ADA rules. Currently, there are fewer trained diabetic alert dogs then persons needing them, since the dogs are a fairly new tool.

Anyone may use a fully trained DAD at home of course, but I warn of a couple of people that got a DAD thinking they were not going to use the dog daily, and they found their dog did not maintain "sharpness" and it is a lot of money spent to only use them occasionally, if I knew which days I would have a bs problem, I guess I would no longer need my DAD !

Since Diabetes is a progressive disease, it is important to be aware of possible changes in our lives as well as our disease and the tools that exist to help us. Many of my friends prefer (CGM) Continuous Glucose Monitors and do well with them, that particular tool did not work for me, luckily for DAD does.

I have "never" heard of anyone's insurance helping with any of the service dog costs. But, the cost of obtaining and keeping a service dog is tax deductible (in the USA again).

PS: I think your husband is wonderful, mine has slept thru me almost dying. I believe after you have gone low in the night, you wake with a high bs because your liver has released the hormone glucagon (which quickly raises the bs) in response to the low...A brittle diabetic's body no longer furnishes that life saving reaction either.....
Thanks for your detailed answer!

I doubt I suffer from a text book case of hypo-unawarness. I would say that my awareness of low-bloodsugar is nothing like it was 15 years ago. But I have never had an episode requiring an ambulance or anything. There have been a number of occasions where I've tested my blood sugar not realizing that I was low and it turned out I was very low. Just a couple of days ago my dh insisted that I test (I hate it when he does that and he is only right about half the time), I fully expected to find my blood sugar well over 200 and it was, in fact, 51. I guess it probably happens a fair amount, actually, but I have never had it turn out badly or be dangerous. Now that I think about it, though, I almost never have the terrible symptoms I used to that would really make me feel hellish. Now it's all very subtle -- my vision gets fuzzy, I have a vague underwater feeling.

I didn't know that it was possible for our livers to stop dumping glucose in these situations. That's really scary. I know that it's possible for diabetics to die from lows but I have never had a good grasp of how it happens or how likely it is. I suppose I don't really want to know too much about it. I don't want to be afraid to go to sleep.

I haven't actually tried a CGM. I am still nursing my youngest and I'm gearing up to get an omnipod and cgm and start symlin when he weans. So, maybe that will give me a little more confidence about nights alone.
My gosh, I thought it was just my weird husband who could do that! I'm currently 6 months pregnant and my BG has been running low a lot more often for stricter glucose control. My husband has woken me from BG readings under 10- which is actually an insulin shock coma reading. Thank goodness!

There was one time during my first trimester when I was working from home due to a snow storm. He came home from work and was going to just "let me sleep" because he had to go to his bowling league. On second thought, he checked my BG while I was "asleep" and saw it was below 10, reading just a cute "LO". So, I ended up going into an insulin shock coma during the afternoon after lunch and didn't even know it was happening. He took me out of it after 2 hours of cake frosting and waiting to see my BG rise.

I've been thinking about getting a SD too, since this will be our first child and I'm a bit nervous about being in good condition for our little girl. I plan to breastfeed too, which I'm not sure the effects that will have on my BG. I'm assuming it will lower my BG significantly. But, I'm sure I'll be exhausted while keeping up with a new newborn, plus breastfeeding, and recovering from pregnancy. I'm afraid my husband will come home from work one day, me in insulin shock in the chair, the baby crying in the other room.

We have a 1 year old, very loyal Beagle. Will this inhibit us from getting a SD?
My sons can also do it! lol They both cosleep with us and up until around the age of two, the only time either of them cried during the night (well, just about the only time) was when I was low. And for both of them, they would be inconsolable until I was taken care of. Maybe they got the gift from my husband.

I had crazy terrible lows when I was pregnant, but not after (except for like the first few days after -- bc your insulin needs go down next to nothing and it's hard to figure out). Nursing hasn't been a problem at all. I don't think it has any effect on my bs.

The lowest I know of that I've been at is 24. 10 sounds pretty darned scary. I'm happy your hubby is attentive!

Congrats on your new little one! They are so fun!
It took your husband 2 hours of cake frosting to get you back? Wow, my husband panics in about 10 minutes!

Most private trainers have no problem with other dogs in the home. I have heard of a program that will not allow other dogs though. So, it depends on the trainer.

Sometimes, after the mother gives birth the diabetes lows seem to disappear, then you would not need a dog...just a thought. If after the baby is born and you are still having trouble with lows. Contact me, your Beagle may be able to learn to alert. If that interests you of course.
Hi MinnesotaAnn,

Do train puppies/dogs to become service dogs? I have had Type 1 diabetes for 37 years and developed hypo-glycemic unawareness several years ago. Zero symptoms now when I'm running low. It's very scary! And I'm home alone quite a bit due to my husband's work schedule. I would appreciate any help you can provide on how to obtain a service dog. I've checked several websites regarding availability and many of the sites indicate you must live in states located on the West Coast. I live in Maine.
Thanks for your help! ;^>
Alas, because I am teamed with my own service dog, it would be too difficult to train a service dog for someone else. My service dog takes her job very seriously and staying home while I gave the service dog in training the many hours of public access needed would make my dog sad. I wish I could because I love to train but instead I must watch from the sidelines. I can only work with those that wish to train their "own" diabetic alert dogs. I also help .... she will trains a dog from several different starting points to fully finished service dog as requested.

call Dan at warren retrievers,he is great! You will get all the information you need. look on face book, those of us on the list and those who have a WR DAD share a lot. I have two {grown, healthy} children, I breastfed both.

I know this is kind of an old thread, but wanted to add some important information.

First, a SD has no rights whatsoever... the disabled handler does. ;) And only the dog's disabled handler ever has the right to bring the dog into public places. A friend or family member cannot take the dog into public places at all (except under special circumstances... such as when I'm hospitalized, if I cannot take my SD out to potty, I can designate a family member, friend or hospital staff to take the dog out for walks and such).

Second, a person must meet the definition of "disabled" under the ADA to qualify to work with a SD of any kind... a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of the major life activities of such individual.

It is possible to have other dogs in the house when you have a DAD, and it's also possible to have a DAD and train another dog to do DAD work. I have six dogs, that includes Maizie my DAD. :) Maizie is a natural alerter, but I had to train her extensively to prepare her for being out in public (exposure and socialization) and also trained her to alert in a specific manner (shaped her natural alerting so that it would be more acceptable in public).

Maizie used to get extremely frantic when my sugar would drop... she'd yip and whine and paw at me, nip at my chin, nose and ears. lol. That was fine at home, but once I decided to use her as a SD I wanted her alerts to be more discreet. I trained her to alert by gently pawing at my leg (if she's on the ground walking) or gently paw at my chest (if she's on my lap). I'm not training her using a bringsel (which in Maizie's case is a favorite tiny toy duck). I'm teaching her to simply bring me her ducky when my bg drops. I have it attached to her SD vest when we're out and about.

I've also trained one of show hounds (longhair cream Dachshund) Georgie to alert. He is not a natural alerter, so I started from scratch with him. He is doing very well with his alerts, but I have to say he is not nearly as accurate as Maizie is. Perhaps one day he will be, but right now I would not consider him "ready" to be a SD. I don't plan on using him as a DAD, I just wanted to challenge myself to see if I could train a dog myself. Glad to say, yes, I can. :)

It's not terribly difficult to train your own dog to alert, but it takes a lot of time and patience, and a dog that is willing to learn.




From the Diabetes Hands Foundation blog...

DHF Joins Diabetes Advocacy Alliance

Diabetes Hands Foundation is incredibly honored to join the Diabetes Advocacy Alliance, an organization with the drive and potential to affect a powerful, positive impact on diabetes and healthcare policy. Diabetes Advocacy Alliance is a 20-member coalition of leading professional Read on! →

Helmsley Charitable Trust Renews Support for DHF

HELMSLEY CHARITABLE TRUST GRANTS SUPPORT TO DIABETES HANDS FOUNDATION FOR FOURTH YEAR  Funding in 2015 to support major transitions in programs and leadership at Diabetes Hands Foundation BERKELEY, CA: February 18, 2015 – The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Read on! →

Diabetes Hands Foundation Team


Melissa Lee
(Interim Executive Director, Editor, has type 1)

Manny Hernandez
(Co-Founder, has LADA)

Emily Coles (Head of Communities, has type 1)

Mila Ferrer
(EsTuDiabetes Community Manager, mother of a child with type 1)

Mike Lawson
(Head of Experience, has type 1)

Corinna Cornejo
(Director of Operations and Development, has type 2)

Desiree Johnson  (Administrative and Programs Assistant, has type 1)


Lead Administrator

Brian (bsc) (has type 2)


Lorraine (mother of type 1)
Marie B (has type 1)

DanP (has Type 1)

Gary (has type 2)

David (has type 2)


LIKE us on Facebook

Spread the word


This website is certified by Health On the Net Foundation. Click to verify. This site complies with the HONcode standard for trustworthy health information: verify here.

© 2015   A community of people touched by diabetes, run by the Diabetes Hands Foundation.

Badges  |  Contact Us  |  Terms of Service