Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought anything about me or what I am trying to do with Tattle Tail would "go viral"!
This photo will have traveled literally around the world. I took it as a valentines day "present" for these pups future owners! I thought it was a cute idea and it took off!
For one site alone on Facebook it has been over 91,500 times and liked 111,500 time s (at the time of this writing! Klem's (www.klemsonline.com) facebook page (www.facebook.com/KlemsOnline) has about probably exploded! After they posted it, many of the diabetic alert dog online commuity started letting them know how, when, and why that picture came to be! They felt it was important not not only raise awareness about diabetic alert dogs but also about T1 diabetes!
I wrote this note to Klem's "I am the owner of these 2 week and 5 day old puppies! I raise scent imprinted pups. These pups lil noses already clearly know low diabetic scent even at this tender age! I took this picture as a present for the owners to be! I just wanted to share the lil chocolates as a valentine gift! A coworker at my day job and I made the box that they are in. Thanks for ALL of the likes and comments...diabetic alert dogs are my passion! IF any of you have been around T1 diabetics you know that our lives revolve around NUMBERS. These dogs are not a cure but they are another tool in the battle against this disease! They will grow up to use their noses to help detect bad numbers but more than that they will be friends and confidants to those that live with this disease. They lay beside us when we feel like crap, they bring us a piece of hope and ray of light in what sometimes seems like a dark place! Thank you for thinking this picture is cute but know these lil ones will grow up to fill a HUGE NEED! I dont raise dogs for a living.....I do this as a side passion. I want others to experience what I have experienced with my own diabetic alert dog. I just want some hope in this world"
As I was trying to read through over 8,500 comments associated with that picture I found the were all sorts of comments from all over the world! Finland, Greece, Poland, France, Germany, and Turkey are just a few! I about blew up google translator trying to figure out what they were saying! Mostly...what cute puppies!
One of the funniest stories so far came from a childhood friend who lives in the Midwest. She went into her vets office and showed them the picture...they replied "oh yeah...we saw that on FB!" She then told them about what these pups do and come to find out the vet tech was a diabetic! What a small world!
I do want to say thanks to Klem's for letting the world know "who" took this photo and telling folks about what these pups are going to be doing! (www.klemsonline.com). So if you all need any pet supplies go check them out! They are also a small family business!
Update February 2014, here is a Facebook comment that I received when this photo once again:
It is truly an awesome picture taken by me and sent out for Valentine’s Day to all the new puppy owners with love and hope for the future! All of the new owners have someone in their family with T1 diabetes. When people think about diabetes, they think most often about T2 diabetes. They assume we can do something to make our diabetes better...the fact is with T1 diabetes our body just doesn’t produce insulin! For a T1, this can be very dangerous & scary at times. Often we find ourselves feeling like we are chasing our tail! As a T1 Diabetic, using experience and knowledge along with the love of my very own special dog named Bravo, I decided I needed to try to do something to help others and make a difference. So I created a company called Tattle Tail Scent Dogs to help families and individuals with T1 diabetes. The love and devotion of a dog is FREE for the time and work we are willing to put into it. The pups I whelp and raise are scent imprinted, extensively socialized to a wide variety of situations, and exposed to massive amounts of real time diabetic scent. A dog can detect fluctuations in blood glucose far ahead of the current technology! To date, all of the pups I have placed have alerted within the first 24 hours of being in their new homes. I live, breathe, eat, and sleep with these pups! My heart and soul goes into every litter! It is hard work teaching them, but it is so worth it! A dog is a warm body that provides care, comfort without words and is compassionate about their response to the needs of their human! These dogs are not meant as a cure, but as an aid to the management of Diabetes. They are our friends, our companions and our lifelines! The photo that you shared was taken from my Face Book page and edited…then it went viral. All of the original pictures can be seen at this link: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/...
Here is a little information about the puppies in the photo. They’re all AKC registered Chocolate Labs from parents with health clearances born in Jan 2013. Their names and locations are Jack – UT, Ranger – UT, Saber – SC, Shadow – CO, Avii – SC, Ziva – SC, Candy- AZ, Maggie – NY, and Cleo – CA
Again THANK YOU for caring enough to share my story and my message behind this special picture and for spreading the message of what dogs can do to help us in our life journey!
Tattle Tail LLC
504 Navajo ST
Salt Lake City, UT 84104
"Where a dog’s nose saves a life and embraces a heart!”
I had the priveledge and honor of helping pick Koda for the Bradshaw family! Kathie has done a AMAZING JOB in training this lil dog! The following are her words not mine....but I agree whole heartedly! Shared with her permission!
My Thoughts on Owning a Diabetic Alert Dog
by Kathie Bradshaw
I love animals and when I heard about the possibility of owning a Diabetic Alert Dog, I knew that was something I wanted to learn more about. I spent a year researching and determining if this would be a good fit for our family. When I finally decided we were ready to take the plunge I contacted our diabetic alert dog trainer and asked her to help us pick out a puppy. I figured I better have the help of the trainer from the beginning if we were to be successful, because let’s face it, all puppies are adorable and it’s hard not to fall in love. I knew however this puppy had to be special and I needed help.
We met several litters of varying breeds before settling on our Cavalier King Charles Spaniel-Koda. She was a great fit for our crazy little family and I was so excited about the prospect of her alerting our daughter for lows. Over the space of a year we met on average 2-3x a month with a different obedience trainer and our dog become a very well mannered pup. I love having a dog. I love that my daughter has a friend to comfort her when diabetes spins out of control, and I love that we have a service dog who is a great ambassador for the Diabetic Alert Dog world.
Here’s what I wish I would have known before hand though, and hopefully it will help others who are determining if this is a good fit for them.
*My daughter was 10 when we got our dog and I didn’t realize how much she would be high from hormone growth during these tween years. There were many weeks we only had 1 or 2 lows and that made the real time training very challenging. It did progress and we got a lot of high work in, but since I was more focused on the lows, I was hoping it would come faster. Over time it did come and now she alerts us regularly.
*I had no idea how much longer it would take me to run errands with our dog. We get stopped ALL the time and have long conversations with people. Plus everyone wants to pet her. This is great for training, but hard when you are a busy Mom on a schedule.
*I didn’t realize how much the dog would bond with me. She prefers me to everyone else because I am the one home with her all day. She loves my daughter, but clearly chooses to be with me. I’ve done the majority of her training, walking, praising, & treating. The kids are involved and have taught Koda a ton of tricks, but she alerts me to the lows, not my daughter. She is constantly seeking my praise. It would have been so much easier if I were the diabetic to get the training down sooner. I chose not to send the puppy to elementary school daily. I didn’t think my daughter was old enough to handle the training of the dog and I knew it would be a big distraction for the class. We still keep her at home during school hours, but do travel with Koda and take her to a lot of sporting events for low detection.
*Be prepared to travel with a doggie type diaper bag whenever you go out in public. This isn’t a big deal, but it’s like having a toddler around and all their stuff.
*Because I chose a smaller dog breed vs. a larger breed we get funny looks ALL the time about our “Service Dog.” It can be a little challenging. Most often, when people take the time to talk to us about her they are amazed and very supportive. However, there are always whispers and lots of focus on us where ever we go. This is hard on the days my daughter doesn’t want all the attention and doesn’t want to answer a lot of questions. She doesn’t want diabetes to always define her and sometimes wants to blend in with the crowd. The dog definitely makes her stand out.
*Children with Diabetic Alert Dogs really don’t want the responsibility of caring for the dog. You will be the one at the Vet, bathing, cleaning, grooming, walking, and caring for the dog. Kids just are kids and can only do so much. Understand that dogs need a lot of care. I average 2 hours a day spent mostly on walking, obedience training, diabetic training, feeding, and public outings. The kids do help, but I am the one managing and being responsible for Koda’s care. As a parent of a Type 1 Diabetic I also know how much time that takes each day. Be honest with yourself if you have the time to spend with a dog. There is no way I could have done this without all my kids in school.
*Dogs are expensive. We spent well over $3000 the first year in training, surgeries, food, toys, bones, boarding, crates, dog beds etc. I expect that to go down these next few years, but it is a big investment of time and money to train your dog right.
*It can be very awkward when your dog alerts someone else who isn’t aware they have diabetes. Our dog has done this several times and is constantly checking out other people’s breath.
*There are times my daughter gets mad when the dog alerts her and she wants to ignore the diabetes. She pushes the dog away and yells at her. It can make bonding between her and the dog challenging.
*I never knew how much it would mean to my daughter to have a dog to just hang out with and tell her secrets too. She loves that Koda just listens to her and she loves how loyal Koda is. Dogs are very accepting and loving and that has been a joy to watch. They love sleeping together.
*When you own a Diabetic Alert Dog you are representing a group of people and can’t afford to have a misbehaving dog or it will ruin the service dog name for everyone. It’s a big deal to be a good handler and a good ambassador for the service dog reputation.
*Sometimes the dog provides me with therapy because I feel like I am empowered in fighting diabetes by training her. So often I feel helpless. Training our dog gives me something positive and productive to do.
Would I do it again-YES! Would I have done a few things differently, again yes. My expectations would not have been quite so high. For me I wanted a pet first and a diabetic alert dog second, so it has worked out well. If I had wanted a dog just for the alerting, I’m not sure it would have worked for us. I would recommend a Continuous Glucose Monitor if that’s your purpose. It is a lot less work and also very accurate. You really need to love pets to welcome this new member into your family successfully, and if you do then it can be a truly rewarding journey. As parents of T1D’s we are willing to try almost anything to help our kids and at any cost. I so get that. Just remember Dogs are at least a 10 year commitment, so never make a hasty decision when considering this option. Good Luck!
Well said Kathie!
Another one lost to this nasty disease called T1 Diabetes. It is the second one I have heard of this month alone, only this one was only 7 years old. A baby, just beginning, so full of hope in spite of a disease that respects nothing or no one!
I have never met this kid or his family yet my heart is numb by this news. It could have been me. Just last week my meter said 26, other times it has said LOW BLOOD GLUCOSE…seek immediate help, and in the hospital a few years ago I had a 10. I didn’t know you could go that low and still live. Yet I remember nurses coming in during the night and being more than a little excited…that’s all I remember though.
If you don’t know what happens during a low blood glucose. Some of the more common signs are trembling, clammy skin, heart pounding, irritability, and hunger. Those are the mild symptoms. As you get lower you get sometimes you get confused, and have trouble thinking, sometimes you have a headache, some start seizing, and sometimes you drop into a coma and may never come out. Then there is something called unawareness…your body no longer has any symptoms that you are aware of and a dangerous low just happens. YES IT JUST HAPPENS…. sometimes we bolus to much, sometimes our basal may be to high, and sometimes your pancreas might decide to work just a little and BAM you are low.
Maybe because of what happened to me recently, this news has hit me hard. I went to grocery store and while shopping Bravo alerted...I treated with tabs and went on. I checked out and went to car when he re alerted. I checked and was 68 so I ate more tabs and drove home. When I got home Bravo REALERTED and then Radar, Penny and puppies chimed in. So I grabbed a juice! I went ahead doing what I was doing. Then next thing I am aware of is that I am laying on kitchen floor and I have claw marks on both arms, neck and face and Radar is nipping my nose the inside of it and I am CONFUSED and VERY VERY PISSED OFF! I know I need to do something and even laying right beside the refrigerator. But for the life of me I cant figure out how to open the door. I crawled over to freezer where my diabetes bag is and grab meter and glucagon. I was 26. I give glucagon and then throw up on the floor. My body and my brain would not work…what made things happen was that I was ANGRY BECAUSE RADAR NIPPED ME! Anger got me moving! I remember shaking so hard that I could barely get the glucagon mixed. I remember thinking at one time…..damn this is it! I am gonna die right here on my kitchen floor and no one is gonna know it for awhile. I remember saying a prayer to God and making my peace. For me, I wasn’t really scared so much about dying, as I was angry about Radar nipping me. (Irrational I know). About 2 hours later I awoke to being on couch and Bravo, Radar, and Penny with me. When Stacey got there with Naia (a puppy) I was still a mess. She helped get things organized with dogs. Folks I did LISTEN to my dogs......but this time diabetes had a mind of its own. I don’t know if it is possible but after talking to Laura G and Edie I am going to try to teach my dogs that at 55 you got get the D pack that has glucagon treatment and a house phone with preprogrammed numbers in it. And I am looking into a rapid response device. .I don’t know what else to do, 14 alert dogs and all of them SPOT ON and the diabetes still won that round. THANK GOD for Bravo and a VERY ANNOYING Parson Russell Terrierist named RADAR! If RADAR wasn’t so damn aggressive I don’t know what would have happened...bless Bravo’s heart he was trying HARD but he doesn’t have it in his heart to bite me! He should...but he doesn’t.
News of kids passing away to this disease causes my stomach to flip flop. I am not a crier normally. I am one who goes to the anger or injustice of it all first. My heart goes out to the family. Prayers will be said that they find a place of peace in spite of all that has happened. But it really makes me angry that with all the money changing hands in the business world about this disease…WHY CAN’T A CURE BE FOUND! Why is that every time a new hope or technology is found that all of the sudden it is bought out and we either never hear of it again or it goes on market for a very high price! I believe people should be paid, but a child’s life should not be on the table as a bargaining chip.
I have no idea what tomorrow holds. I am not looking to die and I swear I will fight to the end. All I know is that I am going to keep swinging away with my pups to make sure that they become another tool in the battle against this disease. Maybe some won’t make full service dogs but if they can become another nose in the battle even at home…perhaps it can stop diabetes from winning that particular battle! We can’t look at big pictures when dealing with diabetes we have to take ONE SET OF NUMBERS AT A TIME. We take each moment and treat it as a gift. We make choices to the best of our ability and we live each day as if it might be our last. Because with T1, it might just be!
This was written by a friend of mine who has an amazing DAD name Gracie that she self trained and a T1 daughter. Here is the link to the original post, and it is reprinted here with her permission Thank you Shana Eppler!
I am not a blogger....I'm a quick poster. However, something has been bothering me that I feel I need to address.
Many people read about Gracie and other DADs and automatically think "I want that!" Gracie is a life saver. She is a blessing from God, BUT having a DAD is big responsibility. It is a 24/7 job. Having a DAD means checking more often.....getting woke up more at night....dealing with a DAD that's alerting while dealing with a low/high child. It's a lot to have on your plate. It's not all fun and games. It is work.
I researched DADs before I put down a deposit with a breeder in early October 2009. I knew my puppy would not be coming home with me until April/May 2010. I had a 7 month wait. I went to DAD conferences. I talked to trainers. I read every book on dog training that I could get my hands on. I read about different training methods. I talked to diabetics who had DADs. I picked their brains. I took notes and took notes. I practiced teaching obedience to our family pet. I planned ahead.
When Gracie became ours on April 30, 2010, I was prepared as best as I could be. I had a plan. I took May through the end of August off and did nothing but train 24/7. I had Gracie on a training schedule. I trained her multiple times a day on obedience skills. She watched every single blood glucose check at night and during the day from night one on. She went everywhere we went. Every moment was a training opportunity.
I am finding that many people see the end result and jump in feet first having no clue what they are doing. They do not do their research. They do not ask questions or take notes. If they do ask questions, they hear what they want to hear. Often they ask questions and then do just the opposite. They see what they want and act on it without thinking, and then they are surprised when things don't work out the way they thought it would.
Talk to people who have DADs. Talk to several people who have DADs that actually alert at night and during the day. Pay attention to their advice. Listen to what they have learned....what they have lived through. Listen to the breeds they recommend. There's a reason why some breeds work better than others. Listen to the training advice they give. They have been there, done that. They know what works and what doesn't.
I guess the point I'm getting at is prepare yourself. Put just as much effort into researching DADs and training a DAD as you put into researching and learning about diabetes. Take it slow. Educate yourself. You'll be a lot better off in the end.
Well said Shana!