Yes, there's more to the story! So, as I had told you, Caitie is going to be paired with a DAD, a Diabetes Alert Dog. There are many different philosophies, many different methods by which people train DADs, many different thoughts on where to begin. Some breed specifically for this purpose, some train their own dogs, and, then, there is HeadsUpHounds philosophy, which fell so in line with our own that again, it just seems we are in the right place at the right time, with the right people.
Heads Up Hounds, or, for another acronym, HUH, trains rescue dogs to become alert dogs. As an animal lover and with a family that thoroughly embraces rescuing animals like our shih-tzu/poodle mix, Morty, we were thrilled to hear that Caitie's new companion will be one who needed a home. To give this new dog, whoever he/she may be, a home, a purpose, an owner who will love them completely and unconditionally, well, we feel like we've hit the jackpot of wonderfulness!
HUH finds these dogs as the time gets right to train for another person to take home their new companion. The training can take three to four months, with a lot of effort embedded into that time. Saliva samples are given from the soon-to-be owner, these samples are used to train the DAD on the scent of high and low blood sugars from their person. The dogs are trained in all sorts of situations, from night-time vigilance, to grocery store and restaurant etiquette, to whatever the new owner's schedule may be. For Caitie, we are looking at this new BF (best friend!) to be Caitie's guardian at night. As parents of a child with type 1, I can very well tell you that a good night's sleep has been absent from our lives for about 14 years...to have someone else on the clock soon, and, with her at sleepovers, college, etc...the tears come very easily...
Caitie will be the owner of this dog. We've watched videos of the hand-offs, it makes the butterflies in my stomach flutter--Caitie will become this dog's world and she will be responsible for her new friend's care. A big responsibility that takes thought and consideration, and she's ready to take the leap! That this dog is being rescued makes us love it even more, and, we haven't even got a clue who he/she is yet! The excitement is building...there's still a lot to learn and a lot to do, but, we are feeling like Christmas in July is just around the corner!
As I count my blessings from the year and look to the future, K9 4 T1, and HeadsUpHounds are tops on my list and making my heart burst. I am "speechless" (ha ha) when I think about how blessed our family is and how lucky we are to have become involved with such wonderful people, and to begin this journey. As a parent, I am sure that each and every one of you reading this can understand the love and want to provide safety and care for your children, and, that it is coming in a furry, fun package--what a bonus!
The new year is sure to bring new challenges and new stories...and new Footsteps of Hope... all my best to you!