May 17, 2008

It is your turn to walk the CGM.

There is a great article about a Diabetes Dog in the Argus Courier, from scenic Petaluma, California. I had absolutely no clue where Petaluma California may be but Google maps did. It is north of San Francisco, south of Santa Rosa. I assume it is scenic.

It was you typical hypo dog story - which is to say very cool. Who needs a CGM if Muttly can sniff out problems? Well OK I can see value in CGM for basal testing but a smart hypo dog would be cool none the less.

Our beagle has occasionally woken us up when Delaney was low. Not that she is reliable at it. The only thing our dogs are reliable at are eating and barking when one of the neighbors walk by with their dogs. We have a lot of neighbors with dogs. Ours reliably bark a lot. We have the K9 equivalent of morons.

Anyway the thing that really got me interested in this article is the family has THREE kids with type 1. I thought we had it tough with two. Actually I think anyone with a toddler with type 1 has it tougher than we do. At least our kids can talk.

Anyway back in scenic Petaluma, the dog, Lawton, can sniff out lows in all the kids and like a groovy new CGM can predict lows and know to get help. That is way cool. That is smarter about diabetes than a lot of people I know.


With three young boys to monitor, Lawton has been a life-saver for the Schumacher family. “He’s a super hero,” said (Meri) Schumacher. “He’s the greatest thing. He even wakes me up at night when the kids levels are low. I used to not be able to sleep at night because I was so worried about them. Now I can go to sleep and Lawton will come lick my face to wake me up if something changes. He really is our miracle.”

I tried reading the story to my beagles. They were not impressed but they barked when the Lab from down the street walked by.

Morons – Yeah I know that moron is synonymous with beagle and for that matter when it comes to Type 1 a lot of the people I know too. Not that I want a lot of people licking my face...


  1. The article Cumulative incidence of type 1 diabetes in 10,168 siblings of Finnish young-onset type 1 diabetic patients featured two families with 5 diabetic siblings, and said that of the families with two or more type 1 diabetic siblings, 11% made up the "or more". You can read the full text here:

  2. A colleague of mine trains her own service dogs (she needs them for physical assistance, not diabetes assistance). Her website,, provides information on her own experiences plus there are a lot of links for training your own, etc. I found out from these resources that there are a lot of commonalities between the task sets for diabetes assistance dogs and psychiatric assistance dogs (!) Information on training the latter, at, could be useful in trying to train your dogs.

    I do recall hearing, though, that beagles are not the best breed of dog for assistance dogs.

    Your choice on whether or not to try... but I figure, better to have the information than not.

  3. As Jonah notes, the incidence of T1DM in families is not as uncommon as you might think. When I was diagnosed in 1976, I was the second sibling in my family to be dx'd, and Bernard had at least 2 other siblings (in addition to him) with it (granted, his family was bigger than average).

    As for the dogs, there are a few organizations who train them, including Heaven Scent Paws, Dogs for Diabetics (in California only), and a handful of others. You may contact these organizations for more information, even if they can't work with your pooch, they may be able to refer you to a trainer who can.