One day, K and I went up to walk around the local antique mall just to browse and brought Murphy along for an outing and training. We had no specific goal in mind other than walking around and looking. I found a cool lamp for $3 and K found a vise grip because you can never have enough vise grips. While he checked out, two women made over Murphy who is growing out of her fear-of-strangers phase.
Another woman and her husband were in line behind K. The very large woman was in a wheel chair. She asked to see Murphy, and so we walked over to her, a good experience for Murphy who'd not yet seen a person in a wheelchair. Well, the chair itself held no interest for her but she began sniffing at the woman and was getting harder to control. The woman's legs were swollen to the point of tight, something I'd seen in my dad with COPD and Type 2 Diabetes. Not yet paired with an alert for a high, I still could tell that Murphy was detecting this in this woman. The woman seems a bit surprised at Murphy's interest in her. Finished with our purchase, I was glad to leave before Murphy did an all out freak out "you're high and smell!".
The farrier came today. There is probably nothing nastier than the smell of clipped horse hooves. My dogs, however, relish these as if they were the finest escargot in a Parisian restaurant on the Seine. Murphy got her first taste of them this morning. Equally tasty, I found dried cod twists at Tractor Supply. They were on clearance but not expired. I'm thinking they didn't sell because they smell strongly of fish. Not exactly a great smell in the house. But then, a happy dog is a happy dog.
Murphy came up over the seat to bite at William sitting in the front passenger seat. She was insistent even after he loudly said, "NO!". Quickly, I told him that he could not react that way. He turned and changed his tone, thanking her and saying he was going to fix it. She didn't settle down until he pulled out his meter and tested. He was 48 mg/dL. Granted, her technique needs a little fine tuning but her message was received: "You, Boy, are low!"
The fitness bug has bitten my teenager and he has increased his working out routine while lowering his carbohydrate intake. Good for him, you might say! Each small change has the potential to completely change daily management of this beast of a disease. Basal programs written for a boy that likes pizza and video games don't work for a boy with a daily 1.5 to 2 hour work out and much fewer carbs. I've had little sleep this week and lots of lows.
Dexcom? Oh, yes, the Dexcom was working. Doing training with Murphy in the lobby of the gym, I texted boy when I saw he was dropping like a rock. "I'm fine." Repeating the message got me no where. While dropping from his high of 270 due to a ran-out-of-insulin pod change is a good thing, you have to stop it around 150 for this boy and in our experience. Turning off basal isn't enough. It seems cell phone vibrations from frantic text messages from your mom can't be felt while lifting weights.
So back in the car, the dog got across the message that mom was unable to. She is a puppy that sometimes wreaks havoc. She annoys the cats and my old dog. She tore up my one year old bonsai tree project. She saved my boy.
This world, I think, is very much in need of more puppies. People, when we are out, still recognize the puppy in Murphy, even if at thirty-eight pounds, she is starting to look more like a dog. They take a step, hesitate with a silly grin. I can tell, they want so much to pet her. The red service vest stops them. When I tell them she is "in training" and touching her would actually help us in training, I can only say it is a relief that seems to wash over them and they come forward. When you have a puppy with you, there are no strangers.
The ownership of a dog connects us, and I hear about their favorite dogs. They start slowly asking questions. And it is then that I realize that even if Murphy never alerts consistently, she has already performed a service to the diabetic community. Her presence gives me a platform to discuss Type 1 Diabetes and how a dog like Murphy can help. I spend many hours (usually waiting for William as he works out at the gym) educating people about T1D. She is an ambassador in her own right.