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August 7, 2010

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Review from Guidestar
August 7, 2010

I have been a volunteer with D4D since 2006. When I started, I had Type 2 diabetes, though I did not use insulin. My interest stems from 2 cousins who werer Type I, and eventually died from complications of the disease, suffering many of the severe long term effects of the disease. Since working with the great clients, families and other volunteers, I have been inspired by their desire to properly manage their disease and willingness to work with these great dogs, to help them deal with the risks of hypoglycemia. They do provide a great support mechanism, and the stories they tell of how they warned them of the onset of a low blood sugar is amazing. I really love the community of supporters that has been developed over the years.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

I've personnally experienced the results of this organization in my own life. Working with this group has inspired me to take better care of my own Type 2 diabetes.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Develop D4D support groups, with clients & dogs, family members and caregivers in all the communities where there is a need.

More feedback...

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

Great clients, staff, volunteers, activities and the dogs. Doing good and support each other.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

Wonderful, real people, all ages and types of friendly people.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

Support the expansion of the program across the United States.

Ways to make it better...

We had more clients and families to support. The program is limited in the number of people it can help due to the costs of developing and training the dogs and clients.

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

Funding,need for more volunteers in all areas of support and eventually a larger facility for training and events.

One thing I'd also say is that...

Diabetes is one of the major health issues in the United States. This group is helping diabetics live their daily lives in a safe and supported way.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010

August 5, 2010

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Review from Guidestar
August 5, 2010

I am a 46 year old who was diagnosed with insulin dependent diabetes at the age of 17. I also have hypoglycemic unawareness, which means that my body no longer provides the symptoms that make me aware that I have low blood sugar. I no longer sweat, get tired, or have the “shakes” when my blood sugar becomes low. Because of this fact, I’ve had multiple seizures in the past. To prevent this from happening again, I applied for a Diabetic Alert Dog through Dogs 4 Diabetics (D4D) and I was partnered with Sherman in October, 2008. Sherman is a 3 year old black lab who has one primary job……to let me know when I have dangerous drops in my blood sugars. Living with diabetes has never been what I would describe as an enjoyable experience, however, my life was dramatically changed when I was partnered with Sherman. I am so thankful for how Sherman has changed my life. He brings joy and security to me on a daily basis with a disease that never allows me to take a “vacation”: from daily finger sticks to check my blood sugar, multiple insulin injections, high blood sugars that cause headaches, and low blood sugars that cause confusion or seizures. Throughout my worst of days, I still have Sherman, with his big brown eyes and wet black “super-sniffing” nose to ensure that I catch my lows before they become severe. His daily exercise routine helps keep me active as well. I am so very thankful for D4D and for their team of employees and volunteers who have been supportive of my partnership with Sherman over these past two years. They are only a phone call away and their assistance has continued well beyond the original placement of Sherman. Without their diligence to provide effective, well-trained diabetic alert dogs and to obtain funding from donors, I would not have had this amazing opportunity. Thank you, D4D, for how you have changed my life!!!

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

the receipt of my Diabetic Alert Dog, Sherman. We were partnered in October, 2008, and he has been by my side, saving my life, on a daily basis.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

make it larger so that it had the funding to provide services to a greater U.S. region, rather than the Western U.S.

More feedback...

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

their willingness to work with me to receive the perfect dog for my lifestyle. Sherman, who was used to being around children, was the perfect placement for me as I teach in a public school in California.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

friendly, generous, and knowledgable. They truly cared about my health and wanted to ensure that I was partnered with the perfect constant companion.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

Provide services nationwide!!

Ways to make it better...

they had a facility in the Central Valley so that I didn't have to travel to Concord from Fresno on a weekly basis for training.

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

funding, particularly in this poor economy. Having received a Service Dog free of charge, I realize how important it is for individuals to continue donating to this cause.

One thing I'd also say is that...

I have heard for the past 29 years that a cure is "just around the corner". I continually pray for a cure in this lifetime, but until that happens, thank you, D4D, for this gift that you have given me. It is difficult to express how much I appreciate you!

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010

August 5, 2010

more

Review from Guidestar
August 5, 2010

My daughter was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when she was six years old. I often marvel at how well she has adapted, given that her life after diagnosis was filled with needles, insulin, and constant queries about how she felt and what she had eaten. Despite her seeming acceptance, she could never say that having diabetes was fun ... until August 2008. In August 2008, Dogs for Diabetics partnered my daughter with Colton, a yellow laborador/golden cross trained to alert on hypoglycemic episodes (low blood sugars). Suddenly, my daughter had a four legged friend and a partner in her diabetes care who helped in a way that neither I nor any other person ever could. He became her playmate, her faithful companion, and her vigilant guardian ready to let her know when she needs to check her blood sugar. He has saved her from serious medical emergencies when her blood sugars were dropping without our knowledge. He has brought joy, laughter, and fun into her life with diabetes (as one passerby put it - "That's so awesome - not that you have diabetes, but that you have a dog to help you with it!"). My family and I are active volunteers with Dogs for Diabetics - or D4D as we all refer to it. D4D is a California non-profit based in Concord, California. It receives dogs donated from Guide Dogs for the Blind (San Raphael) and trains them to detect and alert on low blood sugar levels in insulin dependent diabetics. Once trained, D4D places these dogs with clients free of charge. These service dogs have public access rights and accompany their diabetics at all times. D4D dogs not only provide life saving services, they help with depression, fitness (they still need to be walked even if they are out and about with you all day!), and independent living - free of the fear of unpredictable and sudden drops in blood sugar and the need for constant monitoring. D4D's services do not end once they place a dog with you - in fact, their services are probably just starting! They provide a forum for insulin dependent diabetics to get together to talk about their questions, lives, concerns, fears, and hopes. My daughter (and I) has maintained friendships with other clients and volunteers met through D4D, connected through their dogs, their disease, and their love for each other. I should note that I am also a board member for D4D but my first and strongest connection through this group was as a parent of a client and a volunteer. I thank them every day for the love that they have brought into my daughter's life.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

the partnering of my daughter and her medical alert dog Colton. They have been together for two years now and are inseparable. He has prevented severe medical emergencies for her(and some of her insulin diabetic friends). He has given her a better life

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

wish that D4D grows as large as Guide Dogs for the Blind so that all insulin dependent diabetics, not just those in the Western U.S., could have a chance to have one of these wonderful dogs in their lives.

More feedback...

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

meeting other people who go through the same struggles that I go through as a parent of a type 1 diabetic or that my daughter goes through as an insulin dependent diabetic (and having such wonderful dogs in my life to love).

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

kind, caring, experienced, supportive, funny, and non-judgmental.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

begin to provide medical alert dogs to suitable insulin dependent diabetics worldwide and not just in the Western U.S.

Ways to make it better...

I lived closer to Concord and could foster a dog in training so that I could see one all the way through the release from Guide Dog kennels to placement with an insulin dependent diabetic.

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

funding - since the dogs are placed free of charge, D4D relies on volunteers, donations and fundraisers to support their efforts.

One thing I'd also say is that...

Diabetes is a disease that is growing at exponential rates. For those with type 1 diabetes, there is no cure -- my daughter will always be a type 1 diabetic until a cure is found. Until then, D4D has given her something of immeasurable value for today.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010

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