What a joy to share this with you all! This is just more proof about the connectedness we all feel to others with T1D, all over the world … it’s just instant friendship and respect and positive energy! Please meet Bernd from Germany and his diabetes alert dog, Riley. I know you will be smiling now!
Bernd retired from the field of innovative diagnostics and health economics with an interest in genetic testing for disease management … his first job in industry (after studying chemistry and business in Munich) had been in global product management for the first AccuChek bg meter, and then project leader for the next generation system … all before he was diagnosed with T1D … and as he says, “Quite an irony. Can’t say I wasn’t well prepared”. He lives with his American wife, Lindley (a former lecturer for the American Association of Diabetes Educators) and now, Riley, the beautiful diabetes dog!!!
For Riley’s exam to be certified as a DAD, we had to prove he can discern scents from different sweaty (cut-up) T shirts (with hypo scent vs. just normal bg) … see the videos below.
Actually, to get this right without getting him over-motivated was one of the bigger challenges. If the treats were too good, he would soon get over-excited and kick everything around after 2 or 3 rounds (…but the examiner wants to see somewhat of a statistically valid result). (At this point, I’ve decided that he is BRILLIANT!!!)
Notice the photo in the airplane (where he is allowed in the cabin as service dog). For this, in Germany, we have to prove medical need, documentation of training (medical as well as general “obedience” etc), and a disability card (which I have, as a PWD).
The next airport photo shows Riley walking through the terminal, where he carries “his emotional support dog” (a stuffed animal that he had from birth…)
Riley lives a very good and cultured life! Here’s a picture of us visiting an art museum in Siena, Italy … and then a technology museum too!
He enjoys fine dining: Riley waiting for his steak (he gets a bit whenever he alerts in a true hypo value. I trained him to start alerting not over 75, but for sure under 65 mg/dl. OK, and of course he also gets a slice “now and then”, and with many regular dog food meals …).
And here’s a photo from Austria, because, of course, he LOVES snow!!! But he is well rounded, also loving the water & swimming! (A regular Renaissance dog!!!)
And finally, in front of a water castle in Northern Germany, the Glück (= Luck!) – Castle! I feel quite blessed having such a great companion … Cheers … Bernd
Diabetes is truly an international language. I run a support group on Facebook for T1Ds who use the DIY Loop … and we are now worldwide. That’s where I “met” Bernd. I echo his feelings …
Thank you Joanne, makes me feel really welcome and appreciated in your SoCal circle. I am very fond of the great job you and several others are doing there. It feels good to be part of this worldwide DIY movement, it is exciting to learn more every week, and to share.
Dogs in general and Riley in particular are amazing. Thank you Riley !!!!!