After much prayer and searching, God blessed us with an adorable 13 week old Australian Shepherd puppy for JR. If you recall, we were preparing to train a pup to be a Diabetes Alert Service Dog for JR, to help him with low blood sugars. Although JR isn’t fully insulin dependent at this point, he is having a lot of issues with hypoglycemia (low blood sugar levels). We have no idea why, other than perhaps some genetics at play, since I have the same issues when I’m active, even if my insulin pump is turned off for hours. In any case, we were searching for a medium-sized dog with a very specific temperament for JR, and one that would be a good candidate for service dog training.
Meet “Hunter.” We have now had Hunter for 3 weeks, and he is AMAZING!! I have trained a lot of dogs over the years, and quite a few service dogs. This puppy is incredible. I have never had a pup catch on to new concepts so quickly. He is VERY tightly bonded to JR already, which is good, is learning his scent through games we play, can already hunt him down from hiding places through scent, and he is learning commands very quickly. We have been introducing him to public places and crowds over the last few weeks, but only in areas where dogs were allowed. He is very patient for such a young pup, though, and has slept through our 2 and 3 hour long activities several times. If his service dog equipment is delivered on time this week though, we are planning to make his big debut in indoor public places this coming Sunday. We have notified our pastor and the restaurant we frequent, and they are both OK and ready.
I have no doubt at this point that Hunter has the foundation of a great service dog. His training is coming nicely. We are beginning to introduce him to low blood sugars, but it will likely be 6-8 months before we know if he will actually alert of his own accord. In the mean time, we will keep training and working with him, to make him the best service dog he can be!