"Drey's Alert Dogs" is an organization in Jasper, Texas that provides high-quality service dogs to those with Diabetes and Autism. The Diabetic Alert Dog (D.A.D.) begins its scent training when they are only 24 hours old. Throughout their early years, they are taught to learn the specific scent of their future handler. Their training will enable them to alert caregivers when the blood sugar level of their diabetic person is out of the safe range. This is particularly important during the over-night hours. The trainers of these dogs say that the work these dogs do might be the difference between life and death for some people with diabetes.
Besides learning the scent of their handlers, these dogs must also be socialized at an early age. Currently, a group of children in Jasper called "Kids for Diabetics" are volunteering their time to help socialize the puppies. The puppies were being taught to paw at a diabetic person when they are able to smell that their blood sugar level drops below 80 or is above 180. Kenyatta Carter's 7-year-old son had been a volunteer at the organization when one of the puppies began to alert that something wasn't right with Carter's son. The lab began to alert about Carter's son and as it turns out, the dog was correct. Although he had not been diagnosed, it was soon discovered that he was indeed diabetic.
Carter was surprised to learn that her son was diabetic and was happy that he had been working with the dogs so that he was diagnosed early. "If we wouldn't have been here, I probably never would've known that he was a diabetic," says Carter.
"Jasper diabetic dogs are socialized, as well as alert animals so they can be companions and pets, as well as suited for providing an alert when intervention is necessary for a diabetic person. The dog is able to recognize an unsafe blood sugar level and seek a human to intervene," explains a spokesperson for the company. The service dogs are professionally-trained British Labradors and have been used to help people all over the US from California to Florida.