We are fundraising to have our one and a half year old Goldendoodle dog, Sadie, professionally trained as a Diabetic Alert Dog for our two-year-old son, Carter.
Carter Lavoie, now age 2, was diagnosed at the age of six-months-old with Neonatal Diabetes, a very rare sub type of Type One Diabetes. Where Type One Diabetics have antibodies that attack their insulin-producing cells, Carter does not have these antibodies. For some unknown reason that many genetic tests have not been able to account for thus far, Carter's pancreas simply does not produce insulin - 98% of the time.
Carter's blood sugar is very difficult to control. As a constantly growing, changing toddler, too many factors affect his everyday insulin regimen to get him anywhere near "stable". As such, I, his mother, do not work and stay home to manage his blood sugar around the clock. With unexplained highs and lows, he is simply too ill controlled to attend childcare.
We looked into getting a trained Diabetic Alert Dog (aka DAD) from puppy-age, but the cost is too enormous for our one-income family, even with fundraising efforts. Instead, we have done sufficient research to conclude that Sadie is still plenty capable and young to be trained as a DAD for Carter. Through obedience training with professional trainers and then scent training through another organization, funds raised will go directly towards Sadie's training to ensure her efficiency as a capable service dog. In total, her training should take 4-6 months for professional training with several more months spent reinforcing behavior.
What will Sadie do for Carter?
Sadie will become Carter's new, permanent and constant companion. She will be trained to the scent of Carter's dropping blood sugar and low blood sugar levels. She will sleep by his side and when she smells the dropping sugar, she will be trained to alert me to this. Alert dogs are typically 80-90% accurate and can alert approximately 30 minutes prior to his Dexcom Constant Glucose Monitor (CGM) that he also wears for protection?
What Can Sadie do that a CGM Cannot?
While technology is amazing and has saved Carter's life numerous times, it is not fail proof or 100% reliable. While we recognize that Sadie cannot be expected to product 100% accurate results, all the time, she will be another "tool" in Carter's toolbox to help keep him safe. Dexcom can and has disconnected due to signal loss, sensor errors and the 2 hour warmup period that accompanies every new sensor session. During all these times, Sadie will help to keep Carter safe from low blood sugar, which could cause confusion, nausea, light-headedness, dizziness, vomiting, seizures or if left untreated too long, a coma that could lead to his death. Low blood sugar has killed numerous Diabetics and is something we lose sleep over every single night. Sadie will be another aid for Carter to keep him from experiencing life-threatening low blood sugar.
Our family sincerely thanks you for any and all contributions we receive. You're truly helping to change our lives for the better and help us keep our youngest child the safest he can be with all tools available to him. Any donation is an amazing contribution to our cause and we cannot thank you enough for your generosity.
--The Lavoie Family
Jonathan, Ashley, Corey, Carter, Hayley and Sadie Lavoie
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