Medical Alert Dog Sal & Recipient Eliza

‘I’ve wanted a Diabetic Alert Dog ever since I’ve heard of them. But I also knew it was an expensive process, plus getting the right dog… well, I never thought about it too much further.

Diabetes is a very expensive illness to live with. While it has been cheaper with the recent government subsidies, prior to this year, it probably costed me about seven grand a year just to live with diabetes. Adding the cost of training a dog, it was not sustainable, not on top of mortgage and everything else.

When I heard about the Lions Medical Alert Dog Program, well, I got in contact with Laura. And getting Sal has been great! She fits me so well. I just take her everywhere, it’s almost like having a a new baby! I get my little bag and off we go. Knowing that she isn’t just a best friend but could also save my life by bringing me lollies… it’s pretty astounding.

I think Sal has definitely bonded with me. I’m like her mum and she my daughter.

Sal actually picked up my hypo (low blood glucose) since day one. Our first week together she had alerted to four hypo events. This happened while I was cooking or while we were out at a café; she knew her priorities even with all the smells around her. Plus, I can imagine my hypos would smell very different from the samples she was trained with, so for her to pick it up and come straight to me was pretty amazing

I’m pretty confident with her stepping up and pressing the emergency button or getting my hypo kit if I need it.

I’ve had her excitedly playing with her toys and everything when I pretended to pass out on the floor, she always run to the button. So yeah, no matter how distracted she is, I know she’ll be there for me.

In the past I’ve had a lot of hypos (low blood sugars) overnight that I didn’t wake up to. Luckily, I never ended up in the hospital, but I had family to rely on to wake me up each morning and see if I was alive. I was, obviously, but a lot of the times I could barely swallow! Knowing Sal picks up my hypos early on sort of takes that anxiety away. It earned me that peace of mind.

I also live a pretty active lifestyle; it helps me with my diabetes, but it can make things tough too. I play golf and cricket, and sometimes it can be very long games.
Medical Alert Dog Sal, recipient Eliza & Trainer Laura

This makes adjusting my insulin requirements accordingly a bit tough. Not only that, I can often go low, 6 or 12 hours down the track following exercise. Sal will certainly get rid of some of those worries especially when she picks up the hypos as early as she does. It will definitely help me as well as my performance; I’ll play better and feel better!

I work consulting in other people who also have diabetes. I’m hoping, with Sal alongside me, during these times she’ll pick up other people’s hypos as well as my own. I believe even just the excitement from people knowing that Diabetic Alert Dogs exist, people might show up to their appointments more and take their diabetes more seriously. We have two other staff members with type one diabetes as well. They’re really looking forward to having her there!