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Ella's Profile

Name: Ella

Breed: Chinese Crested

Owner: Nicole Hird

Fully Accredited Assistance Dog

I was diagnosed with diabetes at the age of nine when my grandmother suspected that I may have diabetes after showing some of the symptoms that her husband had shown just before he was diagnosed with diabetes. I spent the next week in hospital learning the ins and outs of diabetes and was able to lead a fairly normal life, even managing to go to university and get my dream job as a fashion designer. When I was 27 I bought my first home- a small cottage in the neighbouring suburb to my parents house which was close- but not too close. My dad would drive past my house in the mornings to see if my curtains were open and I was on my way to work, not passed out from a hypo, which has always been their (and my) greatest fear.

When I  was 27 I was diagnosed with kidney failure and in one week I had to quit my  job, move home to my parents house, quit driving and start dialysis. I was 29 when I was given the opportunity to have a kidney/pancreas transplant which went awfully awry. Whilst having the transplant my blood pressure dropped so low that blood stopped flowing to my brain and I suffered a mild brain injury, which means I forget new information easily. To top it all off both organs rejected so now I was a diabetic on dialysis with an acquired brain injury. I spent 18 months in hospital before adequate care was organised and I was allowed to go home. I went back to hospital a couple of times for uncontrollable vomiting, but this was eventually fixed with botox injections in the stomach and I have now been hospital free for over 2 years- something that I and my doctors are amazed at.

I have a carer 5 days a week- a couple of hours a day- in case I forget hypo symptoms and they become too severe to get myself out of them (this hasn't happened yet but there is always the what if) A hypo dog would be a god send because they can recognise hypos (whereas my carer can't) and appropriate action can be taken before they become too serious. I also believe a hypo dog would give me back some of the independence I lost when I had my transplant. It will also go a long way in reassuring my parents that I can be left alone without dire consequences. Besides which, a furry little friend can never go astray.

I read about hypo dogs in the 'Diabetic Living' magazine. I was in the process of applying for an assistance dog so that they could fetch my marshmallows in case I was unable to walk to get them myself, so when I read about these hypo dogs I was really excited and joined the organisation straight away.