By Erin Matthews, Orthodontic Assistant at Wise Orthodontics.
I have been a type 1 diabetic for over 20 years. It’s been really difficult to regulate my blood sugars even with an insulin pump and glucose monitor. I’ve tried all of the solutions over the years to stay in a healthy range. Nothing has worked great. I am high functioning, but I struggle on a daily basis. Highs and lows in the blood sugar world can be devastating to your daily routine, and I’ve had my share of challenges. My work family at Wise Orthodontics has been extremely supportive as I entered the wonderful world of orthodontics a few years ago. Making great smiles has been an absolute joy, and I love my job. On a daily basis, I am interacting with folks who are making a real difference in their lives as we work our magic with clear aligners like Invisalign, conventional silver braces, clear braces, even lingual braces. But the sugar regulation has been a challenge!
Enter Hope, my new diabetic service dog. She has been trained to detect my sugar levels and can alert me when they are out of whack. It’s absolutely incredible how well this dog can smell! We are now learning all about one another. She can sense both my high and low blood sugars and suggest to me that I take action- which I’m happy to do. Hope was trained specifically for me and knows me better than I know myself. By submitting cotton swabs of my own saliva to the trainers, I was able to teach Hope my smell at various levels of blood sugar saturation. She came into my life 10 days ago and has already made a huge difference for me, my family, and my work family. I feel that this is going to be a great partnership.
Let me back up and explain how I learned about these magnificent animals. My daughter Morgan is always on the lookout for anything that can help me to control my sugars. She was scrolling through Facebook one morning when she came across a story about a diabetic alert dog. She did some research and shared what she had learned. I was sold! This seemed like the answer that I’d been searching for all of my adult life. So, after 9 months of training, my dog, Hope, has arrived. All I can say is WOW, she is amazing. She alerted me of my poor sugar level within the first 10 minutes of our first meeting. My future looks much brighter now. There are still challenges just like with a new baby, (she is only a year old), but I know that we can get through them together. This is just the beginning of a beautiful friendship.