The Armstrong Project, now formally known as Dogs For Diabetics, Inc. began almost seven years ago, when the founder, Mark R., began researching the possibility of training dogs to detect type 1 diabetes related low blood sugar and physically alert the diabetic to the impending drop. His own life was saved by a black labrador puppy named Benton, while he was asleep in a hotel room on his way back from a training center for guide dogs and on his way to Benton’s new blind owner. Benton sensed his blood sugar had dropped dramatically while Mark was sleeping, and the puppy woke him up. For insulin dependant diabetics, their blood sugar can drop so low during sleep that they are unable to rouse themselves to eat. The puppy may have saved Mark from a siezure.
It is unclear to researchers how dogs can sense falling blood sugar levels, but they have proven to also detect when and alert epileptics on the verge of a siezure, allowing them to get in a safe position. They believe it is related to their highly developed olfactory sense. There are even indications that dogs can also detect some early forms cancer.
In October 2003, Armstrong was obtained from Guide Dogs for the Blind and the scent training and alert training was started. Armstrong enjoyed his new “career” and was soon alerting on diabetic-related hypoglycemia.
In October 2004, Dogs For Diabetics, Inc. was formally incorporated in the State of California and granted nonprofit status in early 2005.
Today, their dogs are obtained primarily from Guide Dogs for the Blind in San Rafael, California and retrained for diabetic alert work. They have also obtained a dog from Genesis Service Dogs of Boise, Idaho. Dogs for Diabetics also works closely with Tony LaRussa’s Animal Rescue Foundation in Walnut Creek, California. A Golden Retriever, Cody, was obtained from a private donation to their program.
They receive their dogs professionally trained and socialized as assistance dogs from the time they are 8 weeks old.
All of their dogs reside in local foster care homes. Foster care providers bring the dogs to Dogs4Diabetics each weekday for training. In the evening, their foster care providers social the dogs in the local community.
Dogs4Diabetics is a non-profit, public benefit California corporation. For more information regarding Dogs4Diabetics and The Armstrong Project, please contact them at:
Dogs4Diabetics, Inc. 1647 Willow Pass Road, #157 Concord, California 94520-2611mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org