As I mentioned before we just spent a week in Pennsylvania, we were there for my little brother’s (known from here on out as ‘Midge’) graduation from college. It was very exciting to see his campus for the first time and get to see him in cap and gown, what a day. I don’t mean to take away from the joy of Midge’s accomplishments, but I admit there was a part of that day that rivaled my brother’s success.
We were onto week 2 of Judah being restricted to his leash because of a leg full of stitches, so needless to say this husky had some cabin fever but he was handling himself very well. We stood outside of the building graduation was happening in and waited for what seemed like forever. There were a limited number of seats and we wanted to make sure we were in the building where graduation was actually happening and didn’t want to end up watching it on a projection screen. My mother was the second person in line (of course) so we were guaranteed good seats. When they finally opened the doors we made our way to the middle of the room near the aisle. My parents and Marshall and I settled into our seats with Judah and I on the aisle for more space and an easy exit if necessary. Judah was more alert than he usually was by this point but I figured it was a new place and a strange place at that, plus he had just alerted to a low (very LOW by the time I actually tested) and I was sure I was now rising fast from over correcting. He alerted high and I checked (188 mg/dl), small correction and back to waiting. As the room filled up Judah became more and more distracted.
I expected a certain amount of unusual behavior from Judah in this strange setting, with not enough exercise, so far from home- but he was taking that to an extreme. He wouldn’t sit still, at all. He kept trying to touch the man sitting in front of me, with his snout, with his foot, with his body he didn’t care he just had to touch the guy. I am nearly certain that this man (and the other people around us) didn’t think there was anything going on, but knowing Judah and how he usually handles himself I was embarrassed. Then after ten minutes or so of trying to molest the man in front of me he began to pant, and SHED like crazy!
I am a stickler for a clean, not excessively shedding service dog. It is spring and Judah is a husky mix so… there is a lot of hair going on. I brush him every day for a long time to ensure that I don’t run into this embarrassing shedding issue. I mean, you could see the hair all around him on the floor! It was awful. My mom and I thought it was the acoustics of the room (it was a big gym) perhaps freaking him out, I thought I was going to have to take him outside. During all the restlessness Marshall had pointed out that there was no way for us to know if there were other diabetics in the room, good point, but really what am I supposed to do?! I can’t exactly stand up and say, “Excuse me could all the diabetics in this room please check their glucose? My dog thinks someone is having a problem.”
Eventually the man sitting in front of me turned around and struck up conversation to pass the time. Turns out he was a dog person and was very interested in what I was training Judah for. Oh geez… here we go. I explained that he is in fact my service dog and that he is a medical alert dog who alerts to my blood sugars etc. Then man replied, “I have that problem too. I am a type 2 diabetic.” I couldn’t help it, I laughed and looked at Marshall who just shook his head and grinned.
“Well, Judah has been trying to alert you since you sat down here” (it had been nearly 45 minutes).
The man looked stunned. His wife leaned over to become part of the conversation and he filled her in, she replied, “Well maybe you should check your sugar.”
“I have been.” He stated.
“It is high!” He pointed up and I couldn’t help but notice what looked like excitement on his face. “You are so smart, what a good dog!”
With that Judah curled up and with a big sigh went to sleep. With the exception of a few position shifts during the 3+ hour graduation, he didn’t move again. Well he did once, to alert to my low blood sugar (guess I shouldn’t have corrected the earlier high!). After the ceremony was over and the hundreds of people made a mass exodus Judah glued himself to my side and we were able to weave through the crowd with most people not even noticing he was there. What a good boy…
OH! Did I mention that one of my brother’s classmates graduated alongside her seizure alert service dog?! It was awesome to see! They even announced his name with her’s and he wore a cap, it was GREAT! 🙂