Alert! Alert! Alert

I hadn’t planned on blogging today, or at least not about this. But three of Luka’s alerts in the past 18 hours were just so inspiring I had to share them.

Background: Since getting Luka, his alerting has been less than reliable. This is a common condition when DADs get placed. Luka was missing some lows and false alerting a lot. He got the perfectly reasonable idea in his head that when he alerts he gets to play, in addition to getting a tasty treat. Combine that with what I can only conclude was a bad batch of test strips that gave wildly inaccurate results and I completely scrambled his alert behavior. Barbara and Anna (Luka’s trainers in Austria) have been giving me invaluable guidance during these last three weeks and I’ve been gradually increasing his alerting accuracy. Over the past several days it has really improved as evidenced by the latest three entries in my alert log:

Thursday 7/24 9:30pm
On our nightly walk before bed. I expected I was high because I was low 1.5 hours earlier and took a good dose of ice cream and walnuts (of course) without bolus. In the middle of the walk Luka sat down in the road right in front of me and sat facing me. It was really weird – I thought maybe the sound of the leash clicking against the clasp on his new harness sounded like a click and he was now expecting a reward because that is how he sometimes sits when he is awaiting a reward. I released him and walked on, he came right back and jumped with both paws on my chest – really agressively. I didn’t have the bringsel on because I had changed into sleepwear, nor did I have my usual kit containing a glucometer and level 1 treats (that was stupid). His behavior was so out of the ordinary I decided to give him a good handful of kibble and head straight home to check for sure. My BG was 74 and Luka got a tasty treat of pieces of hot dog and cheddar cheese.

Friday 7/25 11:00am
I went into a meeting and checked my bg: 105. The meeting lasted about an hour and a half before lunch and I figured I was pretty stable since I was just sitting still and the meeting should have caused my metabolism to go into sleep mode along with the rest of me. Luka broke his down-stay after about an hour (which he has a bad habit of doing lately) and sat quietly next to me and just *stared* at me. It wasn’t the excited/jumping alert behavior I was used to and it really struck me as odd. I was about to correct him and put him back in a down-stay when I decided I should make sure. The verdict? 76. Glad I checked!

Friday 7/25 1:30pm
After the meeting I ate a quick lunch and took Luka for a well deserved long walk around the office park where I work. As usual we practiced recalls, remote downs, down with distractions (SQUIRREL!) and he was doing great so when we came to a big open field I put on the 10 meter leash and played chase and “find the treat.” We had a good romp and he got a blissful roll in the grass. As we got back to work and entered the building, Luka alerted in his usual way – jumping and looking for the bringsel – just as the elevator came. Again I thought “there’s no way I’m low – I just ate a half hour ago”, but sure enough: 56.

For my readers who have DADs these probably don’t seem all that remarkable. And, yes, this is exactly why I wanted a DAD so why should I find these so extraordinary?

Prior to this Luka had definitely caught me by surprise with some alerts – times when he alerted and I didn’t think I was low. But between those times were many cases of false alerts or times when I figured out I was low and I had to alert *him* because he didn’t catch them. These three alerts in such close succession gave me a glympse of what the future holds as Luka’s alerting reliability rapidly improves. A little over a year ago I tried to envision what it must be like to have a DAD – a fulltime companion who can help carry some of the load imposed by diabetes. I think for the first time today I realized that it is no longer a vision and I am truly humbled.

Luka enjoying a well-deserved rest next to my desk at work.


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