Six-Year-Old Girl Learning To Manage Her Diabetes With Help From A Diabetic Alert Dog

For 6-year-old Hayden Van Hauwaert her new puppy is a lifesaver. At only 13-weeks old Maggie has already potentially saved Hayden’s life several times in her work as a diabetic alert dog.

Earlier this year Hayden was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. Her parents decided that to help Hayden they would get her a diabetic alert dog. Last week Maggie was flown to start her life as Hayden’s service dog. Immediately Maggie started to go to work. Maggie is part of Hayden’s diabetes management plan, as Maggie still needs to self-test several times of day to make sure her glucose level is okay.

Maggie alerts Hayden by whining or barking when she senses Hayden’s glucose levels are off. The diabetic community is very supportive of the use of service dogs but warns about using such a young dog. “There is no quick fix,” said Lisa Kelly who runs Dogs for Cures in Washington. “If someone says they can rain a dog in two months and get them to you, you should run I mean, there’s no shortcuts.”

The Van Hauwaerts are confident though that Maggie is helping manage Hayden’s diabetes and has led to Hayden self-checking her glucose more often. “If anything, Hayden went from checking her blood from six to ten times a day to now like 15-20 because every time the dog alerts, we make her check,” said Hayden’s mom, Joelle.

5 thoughts on “Six-Year-Old Girl Learning To Manage Her Diabetes With Help From A Diabetic Alert Dog”

  1. What kind of training has this dog gone through to be a diabetic alert dog? It does not sound like anything. My son has a Service Dog and we go to training classes with her. You cant just get a dog buy a vest and decide that your going to train the dog yourself.

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  2. Great question. We also have a diabetes alert dog, and he had over a year and a half of extensive obedience and scent training by expert trainers before he came to live with us. This puppy may well eventually be a service dog, but not until the puppy is fully trained in public access. Right now this puppy is a service dog in training, and may or may not have public access rights depending on their state of residence. I hope this family has a lot of support with training because training a service dog is a very tough job and will get much tougher as the puppy gets bigger and older.

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  3. My service dog Maggie is the sweetest dog you’ll ever meet and she does help with my Diabetes she is a helper

    , Hayden V

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