Diabetic Alert Dog for Mia Reynolds

 Mia's Story:
This is my BEAUTIFUL 10 year old daughter Mia...most people call her Mir.

Mia has had it rough from the get go.  She was born at 28 weeks and not expected to survive.  She has ALWAYS been a fighter though.  After a lengthy stay in the NICU in Rapid City, SD she was finally able to come home in Alliance, NE. 

Fast Forward 2 years...One day, I was flipping through pictures, and noticed how much Mir's look had changed in the past months.  She had black bags under her eyes, she had lost quite a bit of weight and she just didn't look healthy.  She had been eating non-stop, drinking a ton of water and sleeping A LOT.  I did some research on my own and narrowed down a few possibilities.  I called her Grandma and asked her to bring over a glucometer.  Her blood sugar was so high that it wouldn’t even register on the meter.  We got her a doctor’s appointment right away.  They ran all the necessary blood work and sure enough, it came back as T1D (Type 1 Diabetes.  )Her body was already in DKA (diabetic ketoacidosis: a potentially life-threatening complication in patients with diabetes without treatment it can lead to death).  She was immediately admitted to the local hospital until they could get her blood sugars into a decent range.  A few days later we loaded up and headed over to the Barbara Davis Center in Colorado where she was poked and prodded some more.  We went through very intense classes and training for a few days and learned how to manually give Mia her insulin shots, count carbs, figure an insulin to carb ratio, test for ketones, hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), hyperglycemia (high blood sugar), correction shot ratios, etc...you name it we were taught it.  It was information OVERLOAD to say the very least, but, a very small price to pay to keep our Mir alive.  After our new training  we were set free to test out our new skills...scary, terrifying NOT FUN for anyone, ESPICALLY Mia. To this day, Mia tests her blood sugars a MINIMUM of 8 times a day.

So, why are we fundraising for a Diabetic Alert Dog (DADs)?
There is no cure for T1D (Type 1 Diabetes), it is a chronic disease.  There is no answer as to why Mia has Type 1 Diabetes.  Her blood sugars spike sometimes for unknown reasons dangerously high and also VERY dangerously low.  We have had some very close calls. The latest being January 15, 2015.  I was awakened very early in the morning by my son Ben telling me that Mir was laying in the living room and would not wake up.  I sprung out of bed and ran upstairs.  My heart sank.  There, in the living room, on the floor, was Mia, unresponsive.  I ran for her meter and checked her immediately...her blood sugar was at a 40.  I ran for the Glucagon Kit (a treatment for insulin coma or insulin reaction resulting from severe low blood sugar) and injected it.  As I held her in my arms, 10 minutes seemed to take 10 hours.  Finally, her body started responding and she started having a seizure.  After the seizure, Mia came around just enough to be able to drink some juice.   Her blood sugar did eventually come up after ALL of that but that was WAY to close for comfort.  If we had a diabetic alert dog that morning, the dog would have been able to alert us BEFORE this all happened!

How does the dog (DADs) work?
A Diabetes Alert Dog is trained to identify the scent that is produced when a diabetic’s blood sugar changes from a “normal” range. The DAD is given a signal to alert his handler that the blood sugar is not what it should be.
"People have roughly 5 million scent receptors in their noses. Dogs have 300 million in their sensitive snouts! That explains how our specially-trained diabetes alert dogs can detect the scent of a diabetic who is experiencing the chemical change of falling blood sugar. They are also trained to alert their person when this change occurs so the diabetic can “correct” their low before it becomes a problem."
"Under the ADA (American Disabilities Act) fully-trained service dogs (Diabetes Alert Dogs) are allowed to accompany people with disabilities in all areas where members of the public are allowed to go. Our service-dogs-in-training spend hundreds of hours in the public arena so they will be well-prepared for accompanying their companion wherever they may need to go."

  Why is the dog so expensive?
"From the time they can leave their mothers, puppies spend every single day and night with a trainer. Training Diabetic Alert Dogs is incredibly labor intensive and time consuming. While it doesn’t look like work when you see a service dog in training out in public, those trainers are constantly socializing, teaching, creating work opportunities, caring for, and exercising dogs. It’s a job that doesn’t end when the clock strikes 5:00! We are working dogs, in various stages of development, around the clock- 24/7, until they are delivered to you."

We cannot thank you enough for taking the time to read our story, Mia's story. It would mean the world to us if you would share her story.  We can't tell you how much it would mean to us if you can donate!  Any amount helps. If all you can do is share, please do!  By donating, sharing, and spreading the word we know we will be able to reach our goal.  The DADs and her pump is the closest thing we have to a cure right now.

If you have any questions, don't hesitate to ask! We love informing people about Type 1 Diabetes (T1D). 



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Erin Dubs 
Alliance, NE
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