Let the Man Work!

It is one of my favorite things when Judah does his job.  I like it even more when he does his job in front of other people.  I don’t get out much these days so it doesn’t get to happen with an audience much.  People assume a lot about a seemingly perfectly healthy person with a service dog, either the dog is in training or I am pretending that he is a Service Dog.  I have lived in the same town for most of my life (with the exception of high school and college) so people are used to seeing me, when they all of a sudden see me with a service dog it’s only natural they would be suspicious.  It certainly is even more difficult for people who knew Judah before he began working to see him in that context and not at least question the validity of our partnership.  I am a dog person, there is no question there so I think there are people out there who wonder if Judah is simply coming with me everywhere because I want him to.  Well BAM, proof is in the pudding people!

Last night my oldest nephew (5 years old) had his Christmas concert at school.  I am always ready to stand up for my ADA rights and prepared to fight for my equal treatment with my service dog.  However, I don’t enjoy making a scene and there are certain situations where I like to give a heads up before I show up with a dog in tow.  This was one of those circumstances, the last thing I want to do is cause a scene at my nephews school concert.  So, my sister spoke to the principal- telling her that I would be coming to the concert with my service dog.  I don’t know how the conversation went or where it went after my sister spoke to her but I can tell you that they knew who I was as soon as I walked through the door.  A woman (no idea who she was) saw me looking slightly lost and confused after I came in the door and she said, “Your sister, she’s your sister right?”

“Yes…”

“She is right down there.”  She gestured down the hall way and I thanked her and headed the direction she pointed.  I made my way down the hall and began poking my head into classrooms and asking if they had seen her or my nephews (there are 3).  All the teachers seemed neither surprised or put off by Judah’s presence, so I assumed they had all been informed that we would be there.  The only person I ran into that seemed a little put off was I believe a parent.  She seemed a little bothered when I began heading the direction of the bake sale portion of the “Elfin Fair”.  She didn’t exactly stop me, but her body language was pretty clear (clear enough that another parent told me he noticed).  She sort of stood in the middle of the hallway and told me Shawna (my sister) wasn’t down there (turns out, she was) and sent me down another hall instead.  When I wandered back to the “crossroads” in the hall she was still there, giving off bouncer vibes, so I waited.  Once Shawna came out into the hall I could identify her by the brood that surrounded her (her 3 boys and 1 little girl that she babysits for a friend).  The boys saw me down the hall and as they came scampering up to me Shawna called out behind them, “Don’t forget, Judah is working.  You can’t pet him right now!”  (My sister is so good at that stuff)

D was so excited to show me his crafts and class room and we wandered through the building as he told me stories and showed me things.  Parents were all very well behaved about the service dog and most did a great job of explaining to their kids why they couldn’t run up to the dog they saw in school.  Judah worked very hard to stay focused as kids came screaming through the halls waving art projects and dragging coats behind them.  He was certainly more alert than he usually is in a working setting but didn’t require a great deal of correction or redirecting.  We ran into a few people that Judah (and I of course) knew before his working days.  He did pretty well even when he saw all his favorite kids.  A little squirmy and more attentive than he probably should have been, but he wasn’t reaching out or being pushy.  With kids he had no history with he was excellent, so I think once we start being around “his” kids more while he is working he will move on from it very fast.  Well as my sister, L (a family friend) and I were standing to the side of the classroom chatting Judah began to get restless.

At first I could just hear him sniffing, but it quickly progressed to refusing to sit and being generally unsettled.  As I looked around the room trying to figure out what his issue was I began to take an inventory in my mind,

-kids, loud and fast

-toys making LOTS of noise

-traffic in and out of the room

-MANY other people in the room, it is very possible one of those people was having blood sugar issues (he has done that before)

My sister and L both began to notice his fidgety behavior and asked what was going on.  I replied that I wasn’t sure, that he hadn’t really alerted but was acting odd.  Shawna pointed out that there was a class guinea pig across the room.  I really didn’t think that was it, the only domestic small animal that Judah can’t really contain himself around is a bunny- can’t keep it together for a bunny.  We have ferrets and we go into pet stores that have small animals often and a guinea pig has never made him behave in a rude way.  As we continued our conversation and watched the kids, there it was…  bump, bump Judah begins to almost frantically poke me with his nose.  In the leg, in the knee, in the hand, then licking and poking.  “What is it?’ He hits me with one paw (high, which would make sense I had a PB&J right before…), two paws, two paws, one paw, bump, and then he stood on his two hind legs and hit me in the chest with two paws.  That seemed pretty definitive to me, I was low.  How could I be low?  I had eaten a sandwich with peanut butter and plain old, full-of-sugar grape jelly!  I had given myself a pretty conservative dose of insulin too!  Perhaps Judah was just wound up by all the extra stimulation and that would explain all the back and forth alerting.

I handed the leash to my sister and knelt down on the floor in front of Judah to test.  While the meter processed the sample my brain was still whirling, it had to be high- or at the very least fine.  Beep, beep, 74.  Alright so it’s a little low, nothing to be so frantic about.  I took the Capri Sun out of my bag (after praising Judah, who was totally not interested in being praised- and was poking my bag) and began to sip on it while continuing to talk to L and my sister.  Judah started bumping the hand that I was holding the juice in and even getting (quietly, sort of under his breath) vocal!  I looked down at him and said, “I am, you need to wait.”  He sat back down with a sigh, but continued to fidget and whine at me.  After I finished my juice Judah continued to be concerned  and to act as though I had ignored his alert all together.

After about ten minutes he began to get frantic again.  To the point that L told me to sit down and test again.  By now it was about 15 minutes post juice (17Carbs) and knew my sugar would be fine, if anything on the high side.  I was barely low and drank the whole juice.  I pulled out my kit and Judah sat down next to me and watched me test again.  I waited for the results, 73- what the fuck?  I can honestly say I have NEVER corrected a low and continued to drop after.  It wasn’t a big drop but generally a full Capri Sun would have put me nearly out of range on the high end coming from a 74.  I didn’t have another juice… my sister took the two bucks I had in my pocket and went to the bake sale for some cookies.  Judah continued to alert and actually began panting because he was feeling so stressed.

My sister returned, exasperated (she gets wound up easily), with two sugar cookies that had frosting AND sprinkles on them- perhaps overkill?  She handed them to me and I picked one into little bites and ate it while getting a classroom tour from D.  He showed me his cubby and his projects, his play area, reading area and the class guinea pig (with virtually no interest from Judah).  Judah spent the whole time watching me intently, with honestly very little interest in what was going on around him.  Ten minutes later it was time to head to the gym for the concert- bump, bump.  No way.  Bump, “What is it?”  Of course, now it HAS to be high… right?  Nope, two paws right to the chest, shit.  I sit down in one of the miniature  chairs at a tiny kindergarten table and tested again.  Test strip in the meter, prick the finger, apply blood, beep, wait, beep beep, 78 mg/dl.

Alright so Judah clearly had a better handle than I did on what was going on… I ate the other cookie my sister had given me and made my way down the hall trying to figure out why I was still so low.  Too much stimulation?  I had magically missed all the carbs in the jar of jelly?  My body suddenly became way more insulin sensitive than it has ever been…?  After the concert got started I tested again and was at 88 mg/dl, that’s better.  Before it was over however, he alerted again- I had fallen back to 80 mg/dl.  Thank goodness we left soon after and I was able to get home and get some real food.  From all that correcting I did, I never went high.  Looking back at it I still can’t figure out why it all happened like that, but at least I had my secret weapon with me.  Plus he got to show his talents to the people there and perhaps even convince some haters who were in the classroom(including the lady who was playing defense at the entrance to the bake sale, showed her).  For all the work it takes to have a service dog I can’t imagine what it would take to do all this without him…

Sleeping Judah when he was a little baby...  see his tongue?  He still does that :P

Sleeping Judah when he was a little baby… see his tongue? He still does that 😛

Judah in vest

Advertisements

Opportunities for Education Everywhere

So I have been slacking in the blogging department… big time.  So many cool things have happened and I just realized that I have a nearly completed blog post about going to the “Holiday” concert (isn’t it interesting that in the interest of being politically correct it has become pretty much taboo to say Christmas…) with Judah at my nephew’s school (K-4).  So I have some work to do!  I will make sure I get that post up ASAP because it’s a pretty neat one. 🙂

Recently I made a trip to the grocery store with my mother (I know, cute right?), the same grocery store that I was working at right after my diagnosis, point being- people know me personally there.  Any time I go in to this store I always chat with former co-workers and friends about life or the weather but lets be real, they really just want to talk about Judah.  At first is was usually, “I didn’t know you trained service dogs!” or “You are training service dogs now?” but as I explain to more people I think this little bit of information has made it’s way around the store because it happens less and less these days.  I am sure that some of these people think (like people often do) that I am totally full of shit, I find that around here it happens a lot but in a more populated area I NEVER get questioned.  It has to do with exposure and education I’m sure (that’s a nice way of saying while I love living in the woods but people around here can be ignorant, morons- not all of them, but enough) so I just go about my business.  Others think it is amazing and inspiring (more along the lines of what I think their reaction should be, Judah is amazing!).

This particular trip my mother referred to me as a celebrity at the grocery store, not a title to covet- seriously.  I’m not sure why but everyone wanted to talk to me, including one of the deli ladies who decided that Judah needed a slice of turkey, she wouldn’t take no thank you for an answer.  Before we even entered the store a gentleman stopped me outside to ask if Judah was a Husky.  I explained that he was a mix and the man told me he was beautiful (who could argue with that? (; ) and entered the store in front of us.  As my mother and I were standing at the deli counter I was again approached by the man and he said, “When he is finished training will he go to help a disabled person?” Not again.

Well I had two choices, I could be a bitch and say, “He is helping a disabled person” and storm off (which sometimes I really want to do) but he was a friendly and polite older gentleman who clearly wasn’t trying to be rude, so I went with option two.  “He’s mine, he’s working now.”  Well sometimes this causes people to begin to grill me, they feel entitled to know why I have a service dog, if he was really a service dog, as well as my medical history and that can really get to me.  However, this man replied, “I know you don’t have to tell me and I understand if you would rather not answer but may I ask what his ‘medical alert’ is for?”  WOW, that is refreshing.  First of all this shows he actually took the time to read the patches on Judah’s vest (people honestly don’t read them, until after I ask them to not harass him because he is working) and secondly he clearly didn’t feel entitled to the information, he was honestly curious.

I explained that I am a type 1 diabetic and Judah alerts me to high and low blood sugars.  I explained the other tasks Judah can perform and then ended up explaining that Judah is a “natural alerter” who taught himself this skill and then trained me to understand what he was doing. 🙂  He then began to ask me what else service dogs can be used for and what kinds of programs there are out there for these types of dogs.  He also asked me where he could donate to such a program!  Wow, what a cool guy!  I gave him some suggestions and told him how to search for programs he might want to donate to.  By this time we had created a little crowd in front of the deli and everyone was listening in and commenting on Judah and his behavior (at that point he was laying on the floor in front of the deli case while people reached over him for wraps and to get their orders from the deli girls, he was just watching me).  We wished each other a nice day and went our separate ways.

We finished up our shopping and went to the service center checkout line, the store was pretty busy at this point and we were among a lot of people standing in checkout lines.  My former supervisor came by and asked me how Judah was doing with his training and alerting, I again explained what he does and how accurate he is etc etc etc.  While I was talking the older gentleman approached my mother and told her that he works at a school and would like me to come and do a presentation about service dogs there, if I was interested.  He gave my mom his phone number and then thanked me again and left the store with his wife.  How neat is that?!  So hopefully I can get organized and get some kind of presentation together, then I can call him for details.  I think I need to have some business cards made with my contact information and my blog site on them, people are always looking to stop me for information, perhaps if they could just check out the blog it might get me off the hook, at least sometimes.

I Didn’t Make Myself Diabetic!

I am a confessed documentary addict.  I crave the smooth flow of information, particularly from the independent type documentaries that are out there and accessible these days.  I have been on a kick recently watching them on Netflix through their live streaming feature.  It started with shark documentaries with a few dog and history themed ones thrown in for flavor.  Then I got a little swept up with food and farming documentaries and this is where I am right now.  I have always been interested in farming and am hoping (rather desperately) that when Marshall finds a property to purchase it will have enough room for me to farm.  I don’t have a whole lot of experience with crops but I am willing to work for it and I am hoping to operate as a sustainable farm someday.  I have been watching documentaries about sustainable farming and reading articles uncontrollably learning about food and farms etc.

A friend of mine recommended that I watch “Forks Over Knives”, a documentary about the health benefits of a vegan type diet and how diet directly effects the development of cancers, allergies, heart disease, and a slew of other illnesses including diabetes.  Now, anytime I hear the D word I listen more carefully, curious as to what is being said and what kind of information is being passed on.  I found myself getting annoyed at the way they were talking about diabetes in this documentary.  In all fairness, the focus of this documentary is to put the benefits of a vegetable based diet on long and short term health in the for front of people’s minds.  There is even a clip of Michele Obama (I will hold all my political snarky comments to myself.  I will however say this; I voted for Ron Paul, I say that loud and proud- and no, I am not a lunatic activist. 🙂 Do your research, you’ll love him too.) giving a speech about the importance of healthy food where she calls diabetes one of the preventable, diet related diseases plaguing this country.  There is no mention of type of diabetes until an hour and five minutes into the documentary, but no explanation of the difference.  I understand this is not the point of this documentary but it certainly irks me.

I find that I am constantly confronted by people that do not know there is any difference between the two types of diabetes or that type 1 is the result of poorly managed type 2.  They feel the need to stigmatize me because of my disease, and then think it is acceptable to assume that I use a Diabetic Alert Dog because I don’t do what I need to to take care of myself.  RRRrrr….  It is clearly a lack of education that leads to this confusion and stigma, and it is just continuing to get worse as people can spread their opinion with no actual information easier than ever.  I have read articles about DADs (Diabetic Alert Dogs) being discriminated against or even just fundraising advertising and people are so bold when sitting behind a computer.  They say that if parents had taken better care of their kids, been more active etc. etc. then they wouldn’t have diabetes.  They say that using a DAD is giving kids (and adults) the option of not taking care of themselves (NOT TRUE, see older post with explaination if you need one) and that people who use this kind of Service Dog feel entitled and it really has nothing to do with a disability.  (WHAT?!)  I will say this, I would gladly have Judah go back to being left in the car at stores and not coming to concerts with me if that means I get to go back to not having diabetes too.

Now that all this venting is done with, I enjoyed this documentary and it does a great job providing studies and information to support the idea of a plant based diet. 🙂  (I am not a vegetarian, never mind vegan- but clearly it is extremely beneficial to human health.  I have already started to have more vegetarian meals and to study the best ways to raise food, both plant and animal based.)  Educate yourselves- about as much as you can.  Now that I am satisfied with my little rant, I am going to watch another documentary while baking some bread for Marshall (hopefully, I’m not a proficient bread baker. Cupcakes, I can seriously make cupcakes)

Judah is Featured on Petfinder!

Well our little Judah is become quit the internet celebrity! 😛  Yesterday, I logged on to check my blog (what seems like a shameful, nearly obsessive ritual at this point) and had an extremely high volume of views.  In fact, not just views but actual separate hits on the blog.  *WordPress is fantastic and tracks the views on your blog and recently began tracking not just views but individual hits.  So you can see how many different computers viewed your blog and then how many different posts and pages were looked at.*  Now I would love to think that this is because of my amazing skills with the written* (*typed) word, but I am not so audacious as to make statements or assumptions like that.  So I back tracked where most of the hits were coming from and it led me to petfinder.com and their blog.

Now, I had submitted a “happy tail” to petfinder.com because I always love reading those stories and figured people (at least bleeding hearts like me that spend their time reading stories like that) would enjoy a cool story like Judah‘s.  I was also hoping that it would continue to impress upon people the possibilities with rescue dogs.  All too often people assume that when they rescue they are inheriting the problems of someone else, that’s most often not really the case.  With basic commitment to health, exercise, rules, and boundaries you and your dog can start a new life from the moment you meet.  Alright, to me this is another post in the making so I will not harangue you further on this topic.  Back to the purpose of this post, Judah’s fame! 😉

I was recently contacted by Joan, a staff writer for the Petfinder blog about sending her some photographs of Judah so she could write a blog post about him and possibly another piece (she apparently writes for other publications too, *blissful sigh*).  Of course, I was instantly agreeable to the idea and told her I would gather them and send them off after Christmas.   Well, Christmas turned to the New Year and I finally sent off some pictures.  She e-mailed me back and asked for some higher resolution pictures (many of the ones I sent were probably cell phone pictures that were posted on facebook or something) and I agreed to take some pictures of him and send them.  Of course, then life comes in and interferes with your plans.

My grandfather was recently admitted to the hospital and over the span of about a week was readmitted and scheduled for a double bypass.  Not only do my grandparents now live in Arizona, but he is on blood thinners and steroids- both not terribly compatible with being cut open.  So needless to say I was not thinking clearly about promises I had made at that point.  Joan, being patient and kind sent me a friendly reminder of he need for better pictures.  My father had since been put on a plane to Arizona so tensions were eased on the home front and I snatched up the camera for a “photo shoot”.  Really what happened was I sat Judah on the hearth of the fireplace and took some pictures with my mother’s camera, and sat him in front of the shower curtain in my bathroom and took some pictures.  He was totally confused at the purpose of this little exercise and actually started searching for scent samples at one point, poor guy.  I sent the pictures off to Joan and then went about my business.

(Two of) Our Boys; Jordan (left) and Judah (right) sleeping in the back seat of the car.

Well when my blog ‘blew up’ yesterday I managed to track it back to her post (she called him “precious”, I swear it makes him more adorable).  She actually linked to my blog (eek!) right in her post (I had given her the sight so she could have access to more information about Judah).  I was flattered and excited that so many people clicked on it.  Needless to say, that put me on cloud 9 for the rest of the day- what can I say?  I really don’t get out much so when a lot of people read my words I get pumped 🙂 .  The picture she used in her blog post was actually an older one, and probably my favorite picture.  It’s the same one that I had at the end of an older post that made Bigfoot‘s heart all mushy.

But, alas, today when I log onto to my blog, a dud.  Not one hit, then a couple small blips on the screen a few hours later, probably my mother and some other relative that saw the link on facebook.  It was totally thrilling yesterday though and I enjoyed the excitement it brought to me.  It does motivate me to get back to a more quality style of writing, perhaps at least using proper grammar and sentence structure.  Oh!  Definitely less spell check corrections and more “remember the English language” corrections.  Who knows maybe if I really buckle down someone will want to pay me for my words, then I’d never leave the house…

He couldn't manage to keep his eyes open...

He couldn’t manage to keep his eyes open…

I should have known it wasn't a good time for a photo shoot when I had to wake him up to do it...

This is where he started doing a "sweep" for a scent sample (thinking this was a training exercise).

This is where he started doing a “sweep” for a scent sample (thinking this was a training exercise).

Once I brought him into the bathroom he went into full distress.  Not a bath! (For a dog that LOVES water he HATES baths)  It took me a while to get him to calm down and realize this had nothing to do with a bath either...

Once I brought him into the bathroom he went into full distress. Not a bath! (For a dog that LOVES water he HATES baths) It took me a while to get him to calm down and realize this had nothing to do with a bath either…

Next we had to conquer the flash making his eyes close...

Next we had to conquer the flash making his eyes close…

FYI: He went immediately back to sleep after I stopped taking pictures...

FYI: He went immediately back to sleep after I stopped taking pictures…

Finally I gave in and started doing all the things I HATE that people do to get their dogs pumped...  "What's that?!", "You wanna go out?"

Finally I gave in and started doing all the things I HATE that people do to get their dogs pumped… “What’s that?!”, “You wanna go out?”

"Where's the puppy?", and the WORST one of all for Judah... "You wanna run?" So mean...

“Where’s the puppy?”, and the WORST one of all for Judah… “You wanna run?” So mean…

At least he didn't hold me to the run thing... he quickly decided the coldest dog bed in the house was a better option at the time. :)

At least he didn’t hold me to the run thing… he quickly decided the coldest dog bed in the house was a better option at the time. 🙂

New Toy

In the grand scheme of diabetes toys, what I received today is no show stopper.  But, for me- living with no insurance, this is a pretty exciting thing.  A while ago (a few weeks before Christmas sometime) I filled out some information online to apply for the NovaMax Plus: glucose and ketone meter.  In all honesty, I have filled out so many of these ‘free offers’ that didn’t amount to anything I had completely forgotten it was even a possibility.  Then, a couple days ago I received a shipment notification from UPS and thought someone was trying to involve me in some strange mail scam.  After reading which company asked I be notified I looked it up and managed to put two and two together!  Hooray, a new toy!

I was pretty excited when I opened this box.

I was pretty excited when I opened this box.

Now I have not had a ketone tester, ever.  In fact, until recently I didn’t even have urine ketone test strips (some form of ketone test should be in every diabetics toolkit).  There are plenty of times that I really should have tested for ketones, having been sick, consistent high glucose readings etc.  Now I am actually prepared!

Check out my new goodies!

Check out my new goodies!

 

Two ketone strips, wrapped in  foil.  I hope I don't loose them!

Two ketone strips, wrapped in foil. I hope I don’t loose them!

I admit upon pulling all the parts out of the box I was a little disappointed, there was a ten strip vial of glucose test strips and only two (yup, 2) ketone strips.  I guess with the price of ketone strips I should be glad for any, I mean really I should be pumped about anything for free.  It just seems like two strips is kind of a tease…  All well, I tested the meter (using a glucose strip, I want to save the ketone strips for when I need them) and with a glucose 112mg/dl it seems to be working perfectly.  I admit I am a little afraid to lose the two, tiny strips with their small foil backing.  I slipped them in the carrying case that came with the meter.  I put them in the pocket that the meter fits into but the case is less than desirable in my opinion.  I got excited at the prospect of a new case for my things but this one is very small and hardly even fits the things that are supposed to be in it!

*Not sure if you can see in the picture but the pouch where the lancets are kept is not secure and in fact, when I unzip the bag, they are all over the inside...

*Not sure if you can see in the picture but the pouch where the lancets are kept is not secure and in fact, when I unzip the bag, they are all over the inside…

As far as overall size the case that came with the Nova Max Plus is fantastic, at least in the fantasy land

where you really only need to carry a meter, a few test strips, a lancing device with a few spare lancets*, and the meter itself.  But let’s be real, that is never enough stuff for a diabetic to make it through a day.  What about glucose tablets, insulin, syringes, back up strips, back up battery, medical information card, alcohol swabs etc.?  I really am not a fan of multiple satchels.  It is hard enough keeping everything around and not losing any important pieces, the last thing I need is to keep track of is a second bag, with the other half of my important things in it.  So, I will continue my search for the perfect diabetes supply bag, making sure to keep my expectations high and refusing to settle on an inferior product. 🙂

I will be sure to keep you posted on my experiences with this meter as well as with shopping around for it’s accessories.

Hope those of you who are also experiencing the snow are finding a way to enjoy it!  Judah is a HUGE fan of this type of weather.

A Perfect Day! (Almost)

Could it be?  Did I really keep my glucose in check all day?  It seems as though yesterday was like a dream… GREAT sugars all day, could it be that I have found the key to all my sugar problems?  (I am perfectly aware that the real answer to this is, “No”.  But why not ride the high?)  I have recently tried to renew my commitment to my diabetes.  In a previous post I stated that I would begin to keep a better journal and recommit to establishing dosage equations etc.  I finally found a tool that will help me with that (or take away all my excuses for not doing it), sugarstats.com.  It is a free program that allows you to enter your glucose readings including time, circumstance and a space for notes (which I use to document Judah’s alerts).  It also has an area for medications (but I keep this information in the notes section of my glucose readings, it’s just simpler for me right now I hope to start using that part once I have gotten used to the glucose part) that logs time and whatnot.  The program then graphs your readings, categorizes them (based on time of day and where they are in your range), helps to point out patterns, and also lists them.

Here is the graph of my perfect day (blue line) and the previous day (green line).

Here is the graph of my perfect day (blue line) and the previous day (green line).

So not only do I have a neat and organized record of my glucose readings but I also have a graph (similar to what someone with a CGM would get).  I know to a non-diabetic this may seem rather novel, but anyone who has dealt with this disease over time the value of physically seeing the fluctuations is immeasurable.  Seeing that line with fixed points has given me an actual representation of what is going on within my body.  I have also always wanted to keep better track of Judah’s alerts and behaviors and this program has given me the ability to document those things accurately.

Also included in this program are areas to record HbA1c, doctor’s appointments, journal entries, and even offers a discussion forum for PWDs to reach out to each other.  It’s a pretty snazzy program and I can’t wait to become more efficient using it.  Now that I have a physical representation of those glucose readings it makes it much easier to see I that it isn’t always random.  It also makes me more motivated to try and make that graph as ‘pretty’ as possible (with the straightest line of course).  I am excited again!  Woohoo!

Now back to yesterday, my almost perfect day!  I managed to have possibly the best day I have within the last year.  Here is how my day went;

5:45AM- 126 mg/dl

7:43AM-133 mg/dl-> 2 units (for a consistent morning spike, this is my new technique and has proven successful)

9:55AM-116 mg/dl-> 1/2 3 egg Omelet w/ Mushroom, onion & broccoli-> no insulin

11:45AM-129 mg/dl

12:42PM-128 mg/dl

1:29PM-110 mg/dl->other 1/2 omelet-> no insulin

2:13PM-101 mg/dl

3:10PM-104 mg/dl

4:19-98 mg/dl

4:56PM-108 mg/dl->52 g carb (ramon noodles)->6 units insulin

7:00PM-140 mg/dl->had approx. 20g carb snack (yummy, all natural 60% organic Kettle Chip ‘Doritos’)

8:42PM-111 mg/dl

9:10PM->35g. carb ‘snack’->3 units

9:35PM-25 units Lantus

10:40PM-236 mg/dl->3 unit correction (thinking I didn’t calculate carb correctly on snack)

So until the bad decision to have a late night snack I was right on ALL day!  This is the first time in ages that Judah hasn’t alerted at all in a day, I am certain that he appreciated the break.  If he doesn’t appreciate the break than he definitely appreciates the better mood I am in when my glucose is good.

At this point I feel that it is obvious that I am totally in love with this nifty program.  I can’t wait to see how this new journaling method impacts my control.

Bonfire, Dog Fight,** and an Injured Paw

On Saturday we went to a party at a friend’s house.  Mr. K had the annual Christmas tree burning party and we (including our three dogs) were of course, in attendance.  My favorite part about the evening was the fact that there were oodles of dogs!  We had our three, in addition to:  Isis & Cali- two female mutts we know, Tucker- possibly my favorite dog that isn’t mine a BIG lab/pit bull mix, Duke (“Ducky”)- Goose’s brother!, Coleman- an older mix, Luna- a female (white) shepherd, with a visit from another intact yellow lab male- don’t know who he came with and was glad to see him leave , we’ll call him the mystery lab.

Ten dogs!  Together, and with the exception of one incident (due to this mystery lab) we had no issues.  The dogs co-existed very well, Luna was an excellent source of correction for the more excited dogs.  She is a high drive shepherd but she uses it well (other than an obsession with  chasing sticks).  She often breaks up play that has gone a little too far and even at one point took it upon herself to use her herding lineage to keep the running, playing dogs close to the people around the fire.

Judah is pretty good at indicating soon after we go outside whether he is going to have a good night and stick around or whether he will play pied piper and lead the pack on a merry adventure.  That night he decided it was a stick around and it was a hangout kind of night! Sweet!  Goose stayed on a leash for the first maybe two hours because his recall is mediocre at best.  It was dark and he is pretty much impossible to find in those conditions (I forgot to bring a collar light).  After all the dogs initial excitement had dissipated we let him join the fun.  He did pretty well, wandered off a few times but actually came to us when we headed to the woods and called him.

We met some new people that night and eventually Judah’s story was brought up.  The first time was from a friend’s (The Librarian- good name for you?) relative.  I heard, “That’s the dog, the service dog” and The Librarian indicated to Judah.  The man then turned and told me she had shared Judah’s story with him and that his daughter, now 28 and just had a baby, was diagnosed at age 10.  Ih catch in my throat.  He knew, really knew what the relationship between Judah and I means.  I was truly a moment I will remember.t was cool to finally have someone in the flesh within reach who knew what I was dealing with.  He had been on this emotional roller coaster.  He told me about spending the first year after diagnosis being in her school testing her sugars all day, the long nights and the non-stop work.  We discussed what Judah does and how he came to this job.  He bent over and took Judah’s face in his hands, “You are a smart guy.  Good work, buddy”.  I know that doesn’t seem like much of a gesture, but it was how he looked at Judah that made my breath catch.  He totally understood the power of Judah’s skills and what an impact he was making on my life.

The second time Judah’s status as a service dog came to light was when Duke had stolen (for the 4th time) someone’s clothing, this time a pair of  mittens.  I was trying to help the woman retrieve them back and was using Judah to help.  I told him to “Go get that puppy” and he wrangled Duke, bringing him back within reach, he even went so far as to block Duke’s escape.  When Marshall saw what we were doing he intercepted Duke on a get away and returned the mittens.  The woman and I began chatting (for the second time that evening) and she stated many times how impressed by Judah’s behavior she was.  I then explained that he listened to me like that because we had a pretty special relationship.  Upon telling her that he has always been mine and now served as my service dog, she asked what he did for me.  Of course then the conversation continued with how he does his job, how it all started and so on.

As I already stated, there was one scuffle that night- and of course yours truly was the one to dive in and break it up.  The mystery lab was causing a little trouble, even evoking a dominant response from Tucker.  Tucker is not a dog to try and lay down the law, he is more of a happy go lucky guy.  I had corrected and removed Tucker from the mystery lab’s group of people a couple times and eventually that little tension ended.  A little while later while we were all chatting a fight broke out.  I spun to see mystery lab on top of one of the hound puppies, at that point I didn’t know which one, it turned out to be Duke.  Duke was screaming and the lab was pinning him to the ground with his huge fat body and biting him in the face and neck area.  I yelled my biggest, deepest dog fight breaking up yell and he didn’t even slow down.  So, as I have been known to do (and don’t recommend), I jumped in.**  I pulled the lab off Duke and put myself between the two of them.  When Duke tried to retreat, mystery lab pursued.  I clearly wasn’t making enough of an impression, so I also pursued.  I managed to grab mystery lab as he once again pounced on poor Duke, pulled him off Duke and while holding him by the collar (and I am sure neck skin, he was a fat lab, there was a lot of neck skin) picked him up.  I finally was able to break his focus when I got his front feet off the ground.  I held him up so his back feet were on the ground and he was being held on either side of the neck facing me.  When he stopped trying to be a homicidal maniac I set him on his tush in the snow and without letting go, waited for eye contact.  When he looked up at me I said, “Get out of here” in a soft but firm voice and released him.  He got up and trotted back to his crew, he was clearly back into a submissive lab mode and I hadn’t traumatized him (don’t worry, I know what I’m doing!).  When I turned back to my group of friends I was greeted by applause and cheers.

Amongst my friends everyone knows I’m the “dog lady”.  I am always the one that mediates the dog’s interactions with people and other dogs when we are all together.  I assumed the role without really asking and I hope that my friends (and trust me, most of them would) have no issue telling me off if they don’t like it.  I spend my time watching body language and blocking behavior before it escalates as well as allowing certain things to take place so the dogs can help each other achieve balance.  I know that I have to work on turning off the ‘dog behaviorist’ part of my brain off but I will take this opportunity to thank my friends for putting up with me. 😛  It has even gone so far as when people showed up later to the fire they checked in with me and introduced their dogs!  Oops… Is it bad that this doesn’t bother me in the least?!

Well the next morning while I was out playing with Goose in the snow I began to see blood staining the white playground.  After tracking it to his foot Marshall and I assumed it was a cracked pad and Marshall brought him inside to put Musher’s Wax on it (best stuff EVER! works great for snow-balling and such, but is also a great paw conditioner and protects against hot pavement and sand as well.  Made of beeswax).  He quickly came back out and told me that he had actually cut the paw open and it looked pretty gruesome.  Well boy was he right!  It is a V shaped laceration on the big pad on the hing foot, starting at the front and opening toward the heel.  Poor guy.

Marshall's vet wrap choice :)

Marshall’s vet wrap choice 🙂

When it comes to pad injuries it is one of the rare cases where pretty consistent bandaging.  It can’t be stitched, could possibly be glued closed but injuries like this usually do better healing from the inside out.  Considering the shape and location of Goose’s injury I have chosen to keep it clean, wrapped, and monitored.  (I have dealt with injuries like this many times before and if this happens to your dog PLEASE SEEK VETERINARY CARE)  Goose is not a great fan of keeping it wrapped and doesn’t really appreciate that at least Marshall tried to make it cool with ‘snow camouflage’ patterned vet wrap.

We have succeeded in reducing the swelling and keeping it all clean.  I use mostly hot water or saline to flush the area, NOT peroxide.  The thing with peroxide is that it kills all bacteria, even the good stuff.  I don’t use it in everyday care, in the initial cleaning of a dirty wound or in dealing with infection that is already set in are the times when I use it.  Neosporin or other antibiotic ointment is used in bandage changing.  I also find that Tea Tree oil helps to soothe pain and reduce swelling.

Oh and yes, Judah did alert while we were at the fire, even though he was romping with his friends.  I went to the driveway to where our car was and he appeared and demanded I check.  🙂

**I am feeling the need to clarify a little.  When I say ‘dog fight’, no one was injured, no skin was broken.  It was not rough play however, it was a dominance display gone too far (I suspect after watching this lab interact earlier) with one party trying to retreat and one pursuing.  There was biting contact, not just open mouths banging together or a lot of noise.  I did intervene, which I truly can’t recommend people do unless you know what you are reaching into, TRULY know.  I take pride in the fact that I have spent countless hours doing research, watching videos, watching dogs, reading, asking, observing dog behavior and body language.  I did not hurt the lab in the process of intervening on his “attack” (I use quotes because people sometimes paint the wrong picture, he wasn’t trying to kill Duke.  He did cross the line of acceptable behavior and did hurt Duke, though not causing injury, just pain in those moments.).  I did display more power and strength than he could which succeeded in impressing him enough to allow him to move into a different state of mind.  Later in the evening he approached me as any other happy lab would and presented his head for scratching, which I granted happily.  I did not lose my temper or physical harm to anyone, I did block the body and brain from moving forward and continuing pursuit.  That’s all.

Goose trying to convince you that tending the foot is abuse... is it working?

Goose trying to convince you that tending the foot is abuse… is it working?

Judah was totally bored by my "photo shoot".  I need some decent pics of him for some petfinder articles being written.  More on this soon!

Judah was totally bored by my “photo shoot”. I need some decent pics of him for some petfinder articles being written. More on this soon!