How service dogs help Canadians living with diabetes
Trained noses help diabetes service dogs sniff out their owners’ low blood sugar – and even save their lives. That’s dogged determination.
Ukita is a 2-year-old yellow Labrador retriever who loves hitting the golf course with her owner, Cory Carter, an electrician from Langley, B.C. Off the golf course, she follows Carter from site to site, joyfully wagging her tail and occasionally carrying his tool belt. While Carter is hard at work wiring homes, Ukita works too, vigilantly smelling Carter’s breath to detect if his blood sugar suddenly drops.
“I look at [having a diabetes alert dog] as another tool in the fight against diabetes, especially if you’re at your last straw,” says Carter.
Carter, 28, has had type 1 diabetes since he was 10. When his blood sugar drops, he experiences hypoglycemia, a dangerous condition that can cause convulsions or even a coma. Most people notice when their blood sugar drops: Their hands tremble, they feel dizzy and they may even break into a cold sweat. But some people with diabetes, like Carter, are hypoglycemic-unaware. They don’t show the typical signs of hypoglycemia, so they need to be extra-vigilant about monitoring their blood-sugar levels.
Learn more about the difference between type 1 and type 2 diabetes
Carter has used a series of tools to treat his diabetes since his diagnosis, but in recent years, he felt he needed more help. So last January, Carter and his wife flew from Langley to Oakville, Ontario to meet Ukita, one of the Lions Foundation of Canada’s diabetes alert dogs.
Training a diabetes service dog
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