Dogs4Diabetics, Inc., (also known as Armstrong’s Project), is a service/assistance dog organization. It is located in Concord, California and was begun almost 7 years ago.
Dogs4Diabetics is a non-profit, charitable organization set up to improve the lives of insulin-dependent diabetics with assistance dogs. The D4D dogs were started to aid insulin-dependent, Type I diabetics 12 yrs, and older.
These assistance dogs have been specifically trained by dedicated volunteers to identify and, more importantly, act upon subtle scent changes caused by low blood glucose in human body chemistry. These changes are detectable to the dogs, but not humans. Diabetics themselves may not be aware of the changes, as over time a diabetic person won’t necessarily notice subtle changes in the way he/she feels. If the glucose drop is not detected early enough, confusion, unconsciousness and death can be the result.
The Dogs4Diabetics service dog is trained to be aware anytime day or night if its partner’s blood glucose level drops quickly or becomes low. The D4D dog will alert its human partner of a need for action. If the partner doesn’t respond promptly, the dogs are trained to get help from other people nearby. This is especially helpful for parents of insulin-dependent diabetic children, who normally must get up several times a night to check their child’s blood glucose levels. A household that has a D4D assistance dog can sleep through the night worry-free unless the D4D dog perceives a problem and initiates an alert.
The dogs from Dogs4Diabetics are brought into the program from multiple sites around the West Coast. The majority of dogs come from Guide Dogs for the Blind in San Rafael, California. Occasionally a dog will come from a donor or another organization in the western states.
Armstrong, a dog obtained from Guide Dogs for the Blind, began his scent and alert training in October 2003. This dog inspired the creation of the Dogs4Diabetics program. In 2004, the organization was incorporated in the State of California, and it received non-profit status in 2005.
These dogs enjoy their work. When the D4D dogs begin their training, they have “already been professionally trained and socialized as assistance dogs from the time they are 8 weeks old”
The dogs used in Armstrong’s Project live in local foster care homes during their training and placement. The foster care providers bring the dogs to Dog 4Diabetics daily for training and socialize the dogs out in the local community in the evenings.
For more information about this organization or to apply to receive a Dogs4Diabetics partner, please contact www.dogs4diabetics.com.