On February 14, 2014, Kalin Turri a Diabetic Alert Dog (DAD) Trainer for Michigan Dog Training in Plymouth, Michigan presented a DAD demonstration and talk at Hoben Elementary School in Canton, Michigan. The Principal Dr. Liz Vartarian-Gibbs invited Turri and her crew (Diabetic Alert Dog “Oakley”, Diabetic Alert Dog in Training “Lady”, both Standard Poodles along with her helpers Verona Turri and Serenity Sturman) to talk with 60 students and three teachers about how Diabetic Alert Dogs can improve peoples’ lives.
Turri asked the students how many of them knew someone with diabetes.Â At least 30 students raised their hands. She told them that DAD dogs are able to alert a diabetic that their blood sugar level is dropping too low even before the diabetic realizes it themselves. Oakley was trained to paw at the Diabetic’s arm when she smelled the chemical change in their breath. Otherwise, she does not paw her owner. Turri demonstrated how dogs learn scent detection and provided two demonstrations with Oakley. She asked two students to hide a diabetic scent on themselves and sit amongst other students.Â It was Oakley’s job to smell out which child held the sample. The children clapped with excitement each time Oakley properly identified the student holding the scent sample.
The students had many questions for Turri, as they had just learned about service dogs as part of their curriculum earlier in the week.Â At the end of the session, each student
had the opportunity to personally meet Oakley as well as the 11 week old future Diabetic Alert Dog “Lady.” Each of Mr. Bolsters third and four graders also had the opportunity to pose for a photo with Oakley and received a printed copy of their photo.
“Lady” and her brother “Radar” are being trained by Turri and Michael Burkey, President ofÂ Michigan Dog Training to become Diabetic Alert Service Dogs.Â They will be available to go to their forever homes to improve the life of a Type 1 Diabetic in the fall of 2014. For more information about Diabetic Alert Service Dogs, contact Michigan Dog Training at 734-634-4152 or email at [email protected]