Could a Diabetes Service Dog Help You?

Are you “hypoglycemia unaware" (blood sugar drops don’t register)? Then a service dog could save your life.

Jodie Gould

“A gift from God”
Today Linda and Doug, who are both retired, take Hamel on a daily four-mile hike. Hamel never leaves the house without his red-and-white backpack with emergency food and a packet of pills tucked in his side pocket. Linda is grateful for her two guardian angels and says she can’t imagine life without them. “I haven’t had an episode in five and a half years,” she says proudly. “These dogs are a gift from God.”

Could a diabetes service dog help you?
To qualify, you…
• Must be diagnosed
as an insulin-dependent diabetes patient, which typically means you have type 1 diabetes, but might also include type 2. Some organizations require you to be healthy and active enough to walk your dog.
• Need a letter from your physician
saying you require additional support for managing your diabetes, and a summary of your blood glucose levels.
• Must live in a dog-safe, dog-friendly environment.
Officials will make home visits to make sure this is the case and that everyone in your family is able to handle a dog. Some organizations require that the patient be at least 12 years old.

To find a diabetes assistance dog in your state, visit Assistance Dogs International online at

April 2013