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Dogs For Diabetics

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Animal Protection & Welfare, Animal Services, Animals, Diseases of Specific Organs, Health, Health Support

Mission: Disclosure for all medical assistance dog teams.

Programs: During the fiscal year ended june 30, 2015, dogs for diabetics, inc (d4d) acquired, trained,and placed medical alert service dogs with insulin-dependent diabetic youth and adults. These assistance dogs are trained to identify the scent of the changing body chemistry of the client and alert them of the onset of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), prior to becoming symptomatic, thereby assisting and safeguarding the diabetic with their insulin therapy. Additionally, d4d continued to study the impact of the dogs on its clients, to enhance the quality of its processes and outcomes.

d4d has also expanded its mission to develop, promote and advocate for standards of quality, performance, support and disclosure for all medical dog dog teams, to enhance the acceptance, respect and availability of medical alert dogs around the world.

Community Stories

3 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters



Rating: 5

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.

Review from Guidestar


Client Served

Rating: 5

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!!!

Review from Guidestar



Rating: 5

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.

Review from Guidestar