Wednesday, July 30, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

For diabetics, trained dogs can be a lifesaver

By
From page C4 | January 13, 2013 |

Maria Tello was fast asleep in her Ventura home with her black Labrador retriever, Malachi, snoozing away on top of the blankets next to her.

Then, Malachi’s ears twitched. His eyes opened. Tello’s insulin pump alarm was beeping in a series of descending tones. Her blood sugar level was dropping too far. Left unattended, she could go into a coma or even die.

Malachi pawed at Tello with his front feet. No response. Malachi then pushed her with all four feet until she woke up. Malachi jumped off the bed and fetched a purse containing glucose tablets, holding it in his teeth as Tello woke, groggy, but aware she was in trouble.

“He has saved my life about five times last year,” Tello said.

Malachi is a service dog trained to help insulin-dependent diabetics such as Tello, 58, who was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes 30 years ago.

He also is among a growing number of service dogs that can somehow detect a drop in blood sugar and alert their human partners.

The dogs can be a godsend because sometimes diabetics can develop what’s known as “hypoglycemic unawareness,” in which they do not get the warning signs that their blood sugar is dropping too low, such as shaking, sweating or seizures

Using service dogs for diabetics is a relatively new concept, but one that’s gathering steam, according to Mark Ruefenacht, a forensic scientist who founded Dogs for Diabetics in Concord, Calif.

Toni Eames, president of the International Association of Assistance Dog Partners, said there are more than 30,000 medical assistance dogs in the nation, and a small percentage of them are diabetic alert dogs. The demand for these dogs continues to rise.

“I’ve been doing this for about 10 years now, and the demand has been going up each year as people learn about it,” said Lily Grace, CEO of the National Institute for Diabetic Alert Dogs, a for-profit training facility in Cottonwood. “Before they were trained specifically to do this, there have forever been dogs who would spontaneously alert for this.”

The diabetic dogs also prove that the animals may be able to be of use to humans suffering from other kinds of diseases.

“I believe there are many diseases that can be mitigated through the use of a dog,” Ruefenacht said. “I think we’ve just scratched the surface.”

In Malachi’s case, he is trained to alert Tello when her blood glucose levels drop to a dangerously low level, which tends to happen when insulin-dependent diabetics are asleep.

“It’s called ‘dead in bed,’ ” Tello said.

Another diabetes dog, Sadie, is a yellow Labrador retriever who lives in Oxnard with Jay and Sandy Zatz, both 59. Sandy was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes in 1981 after giving birth to her first son. A subsequent pancreatic disease required that she go on insulin.

Jay trained Sadie himself after researching training methods on the Internet. He used pineapple, which mimics the scent of Sandy’s breath when she’s in trouble. He placed several containers of different foods around Sadie and rewarded her when she pawed at him upon smelling the pineapple scent.

From what’s exhaled, the dogs smell something that’s in the blood. Pediatric endocrinologist Dr. Dana Hardin of Eli Lilly & Co. in Indianapolis is trying to isolate exactly what they are smelling. Hardin said humans have about 5 million olfactory cells, compared with about 220 million in a dog.

“They are pack animals. They want to please,” Hardin said. “You use those wonderful, wonderful traits.”

Tello got Malachi from a private training facility in Arroyo Grande called Doggie Do Good, which is headed by Sandy Sandberg. Labrador retrievers, golden retrievers and Labradoodles tend to be the best diabetic alert dogs, Sandberg said.

“We make sure they have a good temperament, they’re an easygoing dog, a ‘how can I please you?’ kind of dog,” she said. “It must love people, want attention and want to bond with one person.”

Dogs for Diabetics is developing standards to help consumers, and people can check to see if a training facility is listed with the International Association of Assistance Dog Partners.

Kim Lamb Gregory

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

Solano News

Solano County Fair set to open Wednesday

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Marketing study looks at Berryessa resorts

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A1, 2 Comments | Gallery

 
Activity is Medicine program coming to Suisun senior center

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A3

Library teens plan summer reading party

By Glen Faison | From Page: A3

 
Fairfield tries to end Cordelia Road detour

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A3, 15 Comments | Gallery

Caltrans makes I-80 lane change

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A3, 5 Comments

 
Police arrest suspected intruder

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A3, 6 Comments | Gallery

 
 
Big-rig crash shuts down freeway onramp

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A5, 2 Comments | Gallery

 
Big-rig driver strikes telephone lines in Fairfield

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A6, 5 Comments | Gallery

 
‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ primed for big screen

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A7 | Gallery

 
Icon sends first A5 into the skies on maiden flight

By Susan Winlow | From Page: B7

Fairfield police log: July 28, 2014

By Glen Faison | From Page: A12

 
Suisun City police log: July 28, 2014

By Glen Faison | From Page: A12

Fairfield police log: July 27, 2014

By Glen Faison | From Page: A12

 
Suisun City police log: June 27, 2014

By Glen Faison | From Page: A12

Weather for Wedneday, July 30, 2014

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B14

 
.

US / World

Hamas demands for cease-fire and Israel’s concerns

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1, 1 Comment

 
Israel hits symbols of Hamas rule; scores killed

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

Fist bumps less germy than handshakes, study says

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2, 3 Comments | Gallery

 
New California fines for wasting water take effect

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 1 Comment

California lifeguard injured by lightning improves

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
PG&E charged with obstruction over San Bruno blast

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Chevron California refinery overhaul up for vote

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
4 charged with murder in death of USC student

By The Associated Press | From Page: A8

Crews make gains on 2 California wildfires

By The Associated Press | From Page: A8 | Gallery

 
Tuberculosis patient who refused care is arrested

By The Associated Press | From Page: A8 | Gallery

Last crew member of Enola Gay dies in Georgia

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

 
Poll: Immigration concerns rise with tide of kids

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9 | Gallery

Shelling adds to mounting civilian toll in Ukraine

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
US, Europe impose tough new sanctions on Russia

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10 | Gallery

Generation of tanners see spike in deadly melanoma

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12, 1 Comment

 
Senate confirms McDonald as VA secretary

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12 | Gallery

Body of young stowaway found in US cargo plane

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12

 
Report: Health premiums rose significantly in 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12

Highway, bridge money at risk: Senate to vote

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12

 
Senate bill would end NSA phone records collection

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12

Liberians in US worry about Ebola outbreak

By The Associated Press | From Page: A13

 
Top doctor dies from Ebola after treating dozens

By The Associated Press | From Page: A13, 1 Comment

.

Opinion

Red light camera fate now uncertain in state

By Thomas Elias | From Page: A11

 
Obscure state agency creates big money problems

By Dan Walters | From Page: A11

Some people have missed the drought memo

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A11, 15 Comments

 
What kids don’t know would shock you

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A11, 26 Comments

 
Cemetery support committee thanks sponsors

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A11

.

Living

Today in History for July 30, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Community Calendar: July 30, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

What to do when ‘it’ hits the fan

By Barton Goldsmith | From Page: A2

 
Horoscopes for July 30, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: B5

I like Liam, but I think he’s interested in another girl

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: B5

 
A do-ahead dinner to make back-to-school smoother

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

You too can bake artisanal quality bread at home

By Elizabeth Karmel | From Page: B6

 
A healthy afterschool snack that eats like a treat

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

.

Entertainment

‘Sharknado’ sequel has bite and lots of laughs

By Frazier Moore | From Page: A7 | Gallery

 
TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

Music aside, Queen of Soul is pumped for fair food

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Sarah Palin launches online subscription channel

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7, 2 Comments | Gallery

.

Sports

Fairfield Indians blank Next Level Athletic to win SRL tournament title

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
NCAA settles head-injury suit, will change rules

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

49ers WR Brandon Lloyd enjoying return to NFL

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Schaub settles in as Raiders starting QB

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
49ers sign former Cardinals RB Alfonso Smith

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Vin Scully to return for 66th season in LA in 2015

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Mudcats tie Vacaville Admirals

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B2

No joke: Kings’ Cousins hopes for Team USA shot

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
Liriano fans 11 in Pirates’ 3-1 win

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Athletics rally for 6 runs in 9th, beat Astros 7-4

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
Husband arrested in death of NBA player’s aunt

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Triple-A brawl results in 11 suspensions

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Broken water main floods UCLA; 5 people rescued

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
This date in sports history for Wednesday, July 30, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

.

Business

Study: 35 percent in US facing debt collectors

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

 
McDonald’s could be liable for labor practices

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Food writers subpoenaed in ‘pink slime’ lawsuit

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
Stocks end lower ahead of economic data

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Twitter 2Q results soar, stock flies high

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
.

Obituaries

Patricia Jo McDonald

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Jack L Hudack

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

Robert Dale Myers Sr.

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Clifford C. Hemler

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

Jeanetta M. Hale

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
.

Comics

Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5