Assistance Dogs


Posted by Schnoodle Mummy | Posted in General Dog Topics | Posted on 04-04-2012

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5 Year’s old dog can detect his diabetes up’s and down’s – Diabetic Alert Dog

5 year old Will Rimmel

This is an amazing story about the ability for dogs to be able to detect medical conditions and how this detection can be trained to save lives….

Five year old Will Rimmel adores the new puppy he got last month

Just 17 weeks old, the black Labrador retriever loves to play catch with Will or rest quietly and chew a ball by his feet.

But Harley, as Will named her, is more than a young boy’s new best friend.

She could save his life.

Will has Type 1 diabetes, which causes life-threatening dips and spikes in his blood sugar.

Harley can sniff out changes in Will’s blood sugar 20 to 45 minutes before he feels the difference or his parents notice anything’s wrong.

“The dog allows him a little independence and gives us a little more peace of mind,” said Will’s mother, Lara Rimmel, as she watched Will and Harley play in the yard of their Frederick County home.

In the two years since Will was diagnosed, Lara and her husband Rob have monitored his diabetes with a round-the-clock vigilance that can be exhausting.

Will must eat on a strict schedule and get an insulin injection after every meal. His parents test his blood sugar eight to 15 times a day, even creeping into his bedroom in the middle of the night to stick his finger while he sleeps.

“A lot of times he’ll be fine,” Rimmel said. “But I don’t know that, so I still get up.”

Help arrived when Harley bounded in with her two trainers and a 80-page user’s manual.

She’s already proven she aced her training.

Within 15 minutes of first arriving at the Rimmel home, Harley started sending warning signs.

A check of Will’s blood sugar showed it was 318, when it should be more in the range of 80 to 180.

The Rimmels got Harley through Guardian Angel Service Dogs, the nonprofit arm of Warren Retrievers in Orange. The firm also trains dogs to detect seizures or help people with post-traumatic stress disorder or autism.

“Diabetes tends to be our primary focus because I’m a Type 1 diabetic,” said owner Dan Warren, who began training service dogs after his diagnosis about nine years ago at the age of 30.

Guardian Angel Service Dogs now places 300 to 500 dogs a year.

Potential service dogs must have the right temperament and, of course, a powerful nose.

A diabetic whose blood sugar is too high will smell fruity or like cotton candy. If their blood sugar is too low, they’ll smell like fingernail polish remover, Warren said.

When Harley’s highly sensitive nose detects a change, she alerts by whimpering or pawing.

When she’s fully trained — at 18 to 24 months — Harley will be able to call 911 by pressing a button or even run and bring back a juice box in her mouth.

Information from: The Winchester Star,


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