Diabetes-Alert Dogs Make a Difference

The dogs of the Diabetes Friendly Foundation’s "K-9 for Kids” program mean the world to their handlers.

Posted: August 31, 2010, 2 a.m. EDT

Diabetes-alert dog

Deanna Whitehead and
her diabetes-alert dog, JD

Dogs, long used by law enforcement and the military to sniff out drugs and bombs, are being trained to detect high and low blood sugar levels in their handlers.

“With a diabetes-alert dog, some of the strain and fear of the dangerous side effects of diabetes is lifted,” says Cole Egger, founder of the Diabetes Friendly Foundation. The organization’s “K-9 for Kids” program pairs diabetes-alert dogs with children suffering from the disease. 

“We are placing three dogs this year,” says Egger, who notes it costs anywhere from $3,000 to $15,000 to train one dog. “Our goal for next year would be to place 10-plus dogs with families.”

Deanna Whitehead, a teenager with Type-1 diabetes, adores her diabetes-alert dog, JD.

“Without JD, I was afraid to do a lot of things but he has given me the confidence to live my life now and to not be afraid anymore,” she says. “I trust him to take care of me and it’s an awesome feeling.”

DFF is hosting its first-ever K-9 for Kids fundraiser on Nov. 13 in Dallas. For more information, visit www.diabetesfriendly.org


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ronnie root   myrtle beach, SC

10/28/2011 10:18:30 AM

i believe that a diabetic alert dog would help me in life because ive had diabeties for 14 yaers and we still have not completely got my blood sugar and a1c under control.i would like to know how to train my dog in this or have a dog placed in my home.

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Amy   Girard, PA

3/19/2011 9:57:13 AM

What a great program! Any information would so greatly be appreciated. My daughter is so nervous being at home with me! I believe having a service dog would improve our lives!

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Sarah   Van, TX

11/17/2010 6:10:00 PM

We were blessed to be one of the foundation families for the Diabetes Friendly Foundation. To read our daughter's story go to wegottahavefaith.blogspot.com or look us up on Facebook at Where's Wuby?

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Mary   Hillsboro, OR

10/21/2010 10:49:33 AM

My Mom has had type 1 Diabetes since she was eleven years old and has struggled with sleeping through the night for as long as I can remember. She wakes up in a panic- sweaty, shakey and disorientated. My mom needs to feel safe in her own bed and feel the independence she deserves. I want to get her a dog, soon! She loves dogs, is an active woman, living on 24 acres in the counrty and needs to feel safe, in control of herself, and a dog with a mission like this would be befriended and valued immensly by our family and friends! We all know and worry for my mom's daily and nightly struggles. Having a constant companion, a diabetic alert dog, would ease the tention for all of us who care so much about her quality of life!

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