D-Dog, (Almost) A Hero
It looks like he's sleeping, but the dog knows better. She knows this is a Diabetic Low. An Insulin Reaction. Even before he does.
Despite her love, wet nose, playful licking, or entrancing brown eyes, Riley is not quite a hero. While she can sense the Lows, it's true that I'll never rely on Riley to call 911. Or to inject me with glucagon. Or feed me honey, frosting, juice, or glucose tabs. Instead, I can hope that she'll continue sensing something is wrong and try to nudge or wake me into a BG test and treatment, before it gets too serious.
Most recently, this meant hovering nearby me went I went Low in the morning hours and my wife had already left for work. After Losing Time, she received a call from my office that I hadn't yet appeared or checked in and my calendar didn't indicate any meetings set for that time. She called; no answer. So, she came home. Stepping into the bedroom, the first thing she saw was Riley near the bed. With her nose resting on the edge and her eyes fixed on me - as I appeared sleeping. But when Suzi nudged me, she knew something was wrong and my sugar was Low. The dog knew, too, and went to her bed as Suzi navigated the Insulin Reaction and finally got it under control. While the dog knew well in advance, there wasn't much she could do to help boost my BG unless I took the step to do so myself...
Oh, Riley. Almost... (Enter the Bonnie Tyler music of Holding Out For A Hero...)
Ok. Back to reality. Though she's not quite there, Riley is Almost a Hero. Almost. She does her part and what she can. And that's reassuring. I'm sure the same can be said by any diabetic who has that kind of reassurance in a pet, particularly those who may be home alone. A pet-version of the CGM, you might say.
As mentioned before, some specific groups exist on this front - Heaven Scent Paws and Dogs for Diabetics that specifically address this topic and provide dogs and/or training for them on the D-recognition front. Good stuff, and worthwhile organizations to have. Our pets are lovable and can also serve as natural low-sugar detectors when we're asleep, if we don't have a CGM and don't happen to wake up by the time a reaction sneaks up on us.
We all need a hero. Even one that doesn't strive to be that way, but won't hesitate to love us heroicly and do whatever it takes to make sure we're happy and OK.