© Paws for Diabetics Inc, 2006 - 2013. ABN 26 994 694 733
2008 January/February Profile
Corey and Oscar
We have been together as a team for nearly a year now and working really well. We have made the newspapers not only in Australia but overseas. To my family and friends Oscar is a little hero.
2008 October Profile
Kaylene and Winston
Hello my name is Kaylene Burnell and I guess by now that you must all have read my story on this website. I have been trying to raise funds to be able to get my own little Paws for Diabetics Inc Assistance Dog. I would really like to take this opportunity to Thank Paws for Diabetics Inc., and all the members of the public who have helped by supporting me and helping to make my dreams become a reality.
On Friday 5th September 2008 at 11pm myself, husband Andrew and daughter Sarah, picked up Winston the Wonder Whippet from the airport. As soon as I saw Winston I knew he was such a special dog. It was LOVE at first sight for this little puppy and I. Winston was so happy to see me. When I was cuddling him, he tried to tell me something. I offered him a drink and I showed him where he could go to the toilet but he refused it. He was shaking, whimpering and licking me all at the same time. I remembered that Tracey from Paws for Diabetics Inc. had told me about alerting behaviour, so I did a blood test and discovered I was having a hypo. I thought that this must be Winston's way of alerting me and I gave him lots of praise. I think Winston is so clever. Winston will alert me before my blood sugar gets to a dangerous level.
Winston has attended all of my medical appointments with me he is very quiet and very well behaved and if my blood sugar level becomes unstable then he will alert me. Winston is allowed to come with me everywhere I go. Not only does Winston go to the doctors, dentists and hospital with me, he is allowed in shops, restaurants, picture theatres and supermarkets. Winston is also allowed on public transport and airplanes, where he gets his own seat.
Having Winston has enabled me to get out and about more. I have been to two quilting classes; these classes went for a couple of hours and I was able to really enjoy them without having to worry about having a hypo because he was with me. Winston and I also went to an overnight quilters retreat at Fairbridge.
I have had Insulin Dependent Diabetes for over 26 years now and it has caused a lot of medical complications. I know that having Winston will not completely cure these things but having Winston with me every day will help to ease a lot of stress. Winston also makes life worth living for me. He is able to tell me when my blood sugars are getting out of control and he knows when things are not right. He is able to sense a change in my blood sugars when no one else can, not even me.
Winston truly is such a joy and I love him dearly, he is a really smart dog too. He really is Winston the Wonder Whippet.
2008 November Profile
Nicole and Ella
Hi there! My name is Nicole Hird and I would firstly like to say thanks to Paws for Diabetics Inc for all their support- what an amazing organization
I was given Ella (a gorgeous little white fluffy Chinese crested) on April 14th 2007. I had dialysis on the morning she flew in from Adelaide so my mum went and picked her up from the airport. It was the longest dialysis session of my life- 4 hours seemed like 10! She was home when I had finished dialysis and I fell in love as soon as I saw her- She was so tiny and so fluffy- I could almost hold her in the palm of my hand (one of my first thoughts was how was she going to alert me while I was asleep because she was too small to get up on the bed!)
It wasn’t very long before Ella started to alert my hypos- she stared to lick my hands furiously so I did a blood test and sure enough it was down so a few doggy treats for that effort. She was very quick to learn most of her obedience training and I think she is the smartest dog ever (even a few things that are just for fun like high and low fives).
I read about hypo alert dogs in diabetic living and thought I was a perfect candidate for a puppy as I have a mild brain injury resulting from a kidney/pancreas transplant that went wrong. The fear was that I would ‘forget’ what hypo symptoms were and would be in all sorts of trouble. I did have a carer for 20 hours per week in case of hypos but the problem with that is that she would not know what my blood sugars were doing because legally she is not allowed to test my blood (and certainly not give me a glucagon injection if the hypo was severe enough to warrant it) but now that I have Ella my mum isn’t so worried about leaving me unattended because Ella can tell if I’m having a hypo- sometimes even before I realise it. I used to have Jo (my carer) for 20 hours per week, now I have her for 12 hours per week- mainly after dialysis days as a way of getting home and to make sure I’m OK after treatment and on Mondays when I have all of my clinic and doctors appointments (where Ella sits outside and patiently waits with Jo for me to finish)..
I take Ella to dialysis with me where we go through the same routine almost every time- Ella sits in her bed and snoozes from 8:30 to 9:15 then she jumps on my lap for some morning tea (usually the corners of my sandwich!) then at 10:30 one of the nurses take her outside to do her business then she comes back inside and goes to bed again until I come off the machine- she is definitely a creature of habit!
All of my local shops are used to her now and I often get asked questions about her in the street and most people think it’s a marvellous idea and always give Ella praise telling her what a smartie she is and I would have to agree with them. One time I was sleeping through a hypo and Ella bit me so hard it woke me up and I could then treat it- what a star!
I’m glad to say she is big enough to jump up on the bed now and with her track record there is no fear of sleeping through a hypo anymore- in fact my mum has enough confidence to let me move out to the flat in the backyard- because of Ella- not only has she brightened up my life, she has saved it once or twice!
We have made lots of friends at school and look forward in 2008 to return for year 8. This is us ready for school I think we look great.
Since Oscar has been in my life it has changed greatly, I have a new best friend, think I am rather famous and popular and have given my mum and dad less stress and worry. I have wanted to spend more time away from home with friends and mum is starting to give me more freedom.
With the ongoing worries that we have as parents to us, Diabetes proved to be one of the most over whelming. The needles, lack of sleep, testing and worrying was wearing us out. We needed a helping hand and have truly found Oscar to be that. We have faith that he picks Corey’s hypo’s especially at night (which he does) at least we now get to sleep through the night and gives us that peace of mind that when he is at school, Corey is getting that extra help even if it comes from a four legged friend. We have now become more involved with Paws for Diabetics Inc and have found some new friends.
2008 December Profile
Dot and Chino
Chino Koroleff is now 22 months old, still a puppy really. It seems like a life time of interesting events, new friends, and likeable strangers since he came to me as a puppy of eight weeks old. Because of his remarkable talent he has been a companion of irreplaceable value to me. When he first came to me I sort of felt that I had bitten off more than I could chew. He was supposed to be a toy poodle but by the size of his feet I instinctively knew that was improbable. He grew in statue and dare I say it beauty as the days went by and he learned that the words “aren’t you beautiful” really meant “you really need me to worship and adore you”. And the whole town has responded in kind proving his point beyond doubt.
He is such a friendly dog that I have been hard pressed to keep his attention solely on me when we are out and about. Where ever we go he is the centre of attention but like most famous people he now tends to ignore his fame and be so well behaved that I am secretly very proud to say he is my assistance dog. He wears his Paws for Diabetics Inc coat with the certain knowledge that he is special and has a special job to do. He is still learning all the rules for assistance dogs but as he learns so quickly he does not need a voice command but follows some hand signals as well. I am teaching him the sign used by some hearing impaired people for hungry, sleep and walk with me. He is responding to the sign “sit” and “stay” most of the time. He loves riding on my mobility scooter and will climb on the running board without a second repeat of the command. He is seemingly fearless when we go up or down the ramps put out by train guards. The faster we go the better he likes it. Chino has become a seasoned train traveler and sits on a special mat beside me when we travel to the big smoke. He loves Dr. Dave, my diabetes specialist, as he can spot a poodle lover a mile away. He enjoys the hustle of the larger shopping centres and is a perfect gentleman when we shop in the village. He is well known at the chemist, bank, IGA and the newsagent. All in all he accompanies me wherever I go, the manicurist and hairdresser; the doctors and particularly likes Sunday at the pub for lunch where he knows I always buy 2 sausages for him. Usually nobody knows he is present until the manager brings the tickets for the draw. He hasn’t won yet but there will be one hell ova celebration when he does.
Lately his talent for alerting has extended to strangers and he lets me know that the person is a fellow traveler by using the same alerting behavior he uses on me, licking and nudging the person on their hands and giving a sharp yipping bark if they do not respond. He has proven this to a doctor who was in the waiting room and unknown to us was quite low. He admitted he had just purchased a donut to help his BSL rise quickly. He wanted to know how I had taught him this trick. Just luck I guess. As my diabetes is better controlled these days and I am secure in the fact that I can trust his judgment, I am particularly proud of him when he alerts others. We are looking forward to mid New Year when we can exchange our learners “L” plate for a “P” and end all the jokes about learner drivers. Look out for a blue scooter then.