Saturday, April 25, 2015
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

 
Transportation leaders point to need for funding changes

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A1, 5 Comments | Gallery

 
Together to remember children lost to violence

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A1 | Gallery

Church offers free Southern Gospel concert

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

 
Summer Spare the Air season set to start

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A3, 1 Comment

‘Cinderella’ carries on despite theater flood

By Bill Hicks | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
3 letters to Vacaville may cost $100,000 to answer

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A3

 
Suisun City police log: April 23, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A9

Fairfield police log: April 23, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A9

 
Food often a conduit to something more

By Murray Bass | From Page: B10

 
.

US / World

San Francisco Catholics deeply divided over archbishop

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

 
Colleges starting to offer brewing courses

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

Hate crime charges for homeless beating suspect

By The Associated Press | From Page: A3, 1 Comment

 
SFPD to pay for settlement of wrongful termination suit

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

16 students injured when school stage collapses

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Thousands march to mark anniversary of Armenian massacres

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Man ordered to stand trial for kidnap, rape charges

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Nuclear launch officers charged in drug case

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Supreme Court ruling keeps sex offender registration in place

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Rubio looking to gain support in Iowa

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

Hep C, HIV cases spike throughout Indiana

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6, 3 Comments

 
Obama uses hospital funds to help push for Medicaid expansion

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

Hawaii raises smoking age to 21

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
Police: Gray should have received medical treatment

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Italy police arrest nine terror suspects in sweep

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12

 
Yemen rebels ordered to pull back

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12

US completing review of hostage policy following drone strikes

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12

 
.

Opinion

 
Chaos in the primaries

By Thomas Sowell | From Page: A8, 5 Comments

Joy of baseball back in my life

By Deon Price | From Page: A8, 3 Comments

 
.

Living

Today in History: April 25, 2015

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Community Calendar: April 25, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

Horoscopes: April 25, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: B5

 
Daughters’ ex is determined to turn their children against her

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: B5

.

Entertainment

Seriously silly, Monty Python reunites for a weekend tribute

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7 | Gallery

 
TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

.

Sports

SCC baseball team wins to claim share of BVC title

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B1, 2 Comments

 
Ynoa, Butler send Rockies to 6-4 win over Giants

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Vikings fall to Jaguars 4-3 in 8 innings

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B1

 
After working OT in NBA playoffs, Curry, Rose can earn rest

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Scott Dixon is chasing IndyCar wins leaders, not spotlight

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Ducking the spotlight, some stars decide to skip NFL draft

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Garber: MLS plan in 6 months to expand beyond 24 teams

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Dortmund, American Pharoah vie for favorite in 141st Derby

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Harden, Howard lead Rockets to 130-128 win, 3-0 lead on Mavs

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Olympic sailing events may be moved from Rio’s polluted bay

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Canadian Henderson shoots tournament record for LPGA lead

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Bowyer and Stewart looking for good runs at Richmond

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Oregon wins distance medley relay at Penn Relays

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Goodell: LA projects viable for bringing back team

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Former Buckeyes teammates Cook, Sindelar top Legends of Golf

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Swafford, Weekley atop Zurich Classic leaderboard

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Logano wins pole at Richmond, his third of the season

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Usain Bolt: Gay’s reduced doping ban sends wrong message

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Signups for Saturday, April 25, 2015

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B3

.

Business

Winners and losers of the demise of the big Comcast deal

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

 
What could McDonald’s do to fix its business?

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6 | Gallery

Durable goods orders up, but business investment falls again

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

 
Harley recalls nearly 46,000 motorcycles

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

Comcast abandons Time Warner Cable bid after gov’t pushback

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6 | Gallery

 
Cheaper fuel has airlines soaring to record profits

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

Wynn Resorts shareholders: Elaine Wynn won’t return to board

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

 
Ford recalls 390,000 cars to fix door latches

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

.

Obituaries

.

Comics

Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
.

Home Seller 4/25/2015

Ask a Designer: decorating with spring pastels

By The Associated Press | From Page: HSR1 | Gallery

Average US rate on 30-year mortgage slips to 3.65 percent

By The Associated Press | From Page: HSR3

Real estate transactions for April 25, 2015

By Daily Republic | From Page: HSR3