Google+ Badge

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

THE REAL BEGINNING

First, an explanation of what a DAD-Diabetes Alert Dog is, and can do, for someone living with diabetes.  These dogs are trained to smell the smallest increments of scent from a person when their blood sugar is too high or too low...in simple terms, for example, one of the warning signs of Type 1 Diabetes is "fruity smelling breath"...this is when the person has a high blood sugar and you can actually smell the sugar on their breath.  Some people can smell this, some cannot...these dogs are trained to smell the microcosm of that scent, and, the scent a person has when their blood sugar is too low.  Training entails sending samples of saliva to the trainer for the dog to learn "their person's" scents...hours and hours go into this process, sample after sample in all sorts of conditions...so that in the end, awake, at work, doing errands, or asleep, this dog will then be able to alert its person when they may not know themselves that they are entering a danger zone.  Amazing.  Simply amazing.  Not to mention, the stress-relieving aspect of owning a pet, the companionship, the exercise the person gets caring for the dog...so many positives!

But, yes, I do recognize there are 1.  Things I don't know, and 2.  Challenges and uncertainties that come with adding a DAD to one's life.  This dog will bring attention to the Diabetes, possibly more than the person...and the person needs to respect they now have to own the responsibility of educating, advocating and understanding that they will be "out there" for the world to see.  There will be times when they need to weigh their situation and determine how their new companion fits in...all food for thought ... and, there will be unforseen experiences that will have to be dealt with -- some would just call that "Life"...(that's what I'm thinking!)

So, here we are ... at the beginning of the journey, all these things in my head as well as the fun stuff...what will Caitie's dog look like?  Will they be a he or a she?  What will Caitie name her?  Does Caitie get to name her??  Or him??  :)  So exciting!

So, back to the BEGINNING...
Last summer/fall, I was running all over the state for work, and one day I found myself out of town, tired, just ready to fall asleep to get up for an early morning and long next day.  I clicked on the news in the hotel and was just about to turn it off again and just go to sleep, when they teased the next story after the break..."Local father and son finish Ironman, but, there's more...this son did this with the challenge of type 1 diabetes...more after the break".  Well, of course I stayed up!!  When the news story continued, I learned of this father and son team that had taken on this challenge and come in seconds before the deadline for Ironman.  They interviewed the son in the hospital, recuperating from the race.  I was taken in by the story and wanted to know more...

So, I called the station a couple days later and got the name of the father who ran the race.  I called and left a message for him and went on with my days.  A few days later, Dan called and introduced himself.  This is our beginning...this is when all that stuff about right time, right place, something out there in the universe making sense all comes together.

Dan started to tell me the story of he and Zack, his son with Type 1 and why they were running.  He told me they run for a non-profit called K9 4 T1.  K-9's for Type 1's...and that I do not know the whole story...there was more, much more, after that interview on TV.  Zack had to stay in the hospital an extra day to get his levels straight, and, Zack had a DAD, so, the DAD, Oden, went home with Zack's frat brothers back to their home out of state.  What I didn't know (besides at the time that Zack had a DAD), Dan went on to tell me, was that Oden had contracted a virus and he had, very unexpectedly, died that week.  Dan choked up, I started to cry and all of the sudden there was a Mom and a Dad on the phone, The world stopped.  Dan and I spoke for a long while, about Zack, his dog, Oden, and why they run for this non-profit.  Dan's sister also has Type 1, and she now has a DAD.  Changed her life.  I told Dan about my dream of having that guardian angel for my daughter, Caitie, for when she goes to school.  It was a conversation to another parent, I did not, at the time, realize that Dan was K9 4 T1!  As we talked more, Dan told me that K9 4 T1 raises funds for people to get a DAD of their own, and that he, and Zack, were running to raise funds for the charity to help fund dogs for other people.  They were happy to report that they had raised enough funds this year to sponsor a dog that would meet his new owner this past fall.  I was so impressed and touched by this.  I had no idea what was coming next...

A week or so later, I got an email from Dan.  I remember exactly where I was, in the kitchen, cooking dinner, checking email, multi-tasking...I started to read Dan's note and I couldn't comprehend what I was reading...tears filled my eyes.  Dan wanted to sponsor my daughter, Caitie, to get her own DAD.  He had been thinking about her and how wonderful this gift had been for his own son.  His generosity, to this day, is more than I can imagine.  It brings me to tears, it makes my heart burst, it is incredible.  When I think about how we just by chance met, how our stories came together at just that moment, goosebumps.  Thankful, thankful goosebumps.  Caitie came into the room, saw her mom crying and asked what was wrong.  I couldn't speak, I just turned the email to Caitie.  She caught her breath, and hugged me.  The beginning had begun...

No comments:

Post a Comment