Category Archives: Diabetes


CONGRATULATIONS TO JANA AND NOW SERVICE DOG, “ZIMBOO “!! ZIMBOO IS A LABRADOR MIX. THEY PASSED THEIR PUBLIC ACCESS TEST (PAT)!! Jana suffers from Agoraphobia, Anxiety, Bipolar, Depression, Diabetes, Gastroparesis, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Panic Attacks and PTSD.

Our El Paso Trainer Terry writes:

Jana & Zimboo performed marvelously in all aspect of their Public Access Test (PAT). She masterful handled Zimboo in a manner which displayed confidence in herself, and Zimboo as well. You can tell by their openly display of affection, that this team will be around for years to come. The Service Dog family send it’s Congratulation’s, and well wishes to Jana & Zimboo, and the entire family, for making this dream and certification a reality. Good luck and God bless in your future endeavors.

Always=All the time
Mostly=Most of the time (more than half of time)
Sometimes=Some of the time (half or less of the time)
Never=Never demonstrated the skill
The team must score all ‘Always’ or’ Mostly’ ’ responses on the A-M-S-N parts of the test.
The team must score at least 80% “YES” answers on the “YES” “NO” portion of the test.
All questions marked by an asterisk (*) must be answered by a “YES” response.


Zimboo did not try to leave vehicle until given release command.

Zimboo waited in the vehicle until released.* Yes
Zimboo waited outside the vehicle under control. Yes
Zimboo remained under control while another dog was walked. Yes


Relative heel position, not straining or forging.

Zimboo stayed in relative heel position. Always
Zimboo was calm around traffic.* Yes
Zimboo stopped when Jana came to a halt. Always


Zimboo waited quietly at the door until commanded to enter.* Yes
Zimboo waited on the inside until able to return to heel position.* Yes


Zimboo was within the prescribed distance of Jana. Always
Zimboo ignored the public, remaining focused on Jana. Always
Zimboo readily adjusted to speed changes. Always
Zimboo readily turned corners–did not have to be tugged or jerked to change direction. Mostly
Zimboo readily maneuvered through tight quarters. Always


Zimboo responded readily to the recall command–did not stray away, seek attention from others, or trudge slowly.* Yes
Zimboo remained under control and focused on Jana.* Yes
Zimboo came within the prescribed distance of Jana.* Yes
Zimboo came directly to Jana.* Yes


Zimboo responded promptly to the command to sit. Always
Zimboo remained under control around food–not trying to get food and not needing repeated corrections.* Yes
Zimboo remained composed while the shopping cart passed–did not shy away, show signs of fear, etc.* Yes
Zimboo maintained a sit-stay while being petted by a stranger.* Yes


Zimboo responded promptly to the command to down. Always
Zimboo remained under control around the food–not trying to get food and not needing repeated corrections.* Yes
Zimboo remained in control while the child approached – child should not taunt Zimboo or be overly dramatic.* Yes


If Zimboo jumps, turns, or shows a quick startle type reaction, that is fine. Zimboo should not show fear, aggression, or continue to be affected by the noise.

Zimboo remained composed during the noise distraction.* Yes


Zimboo is unobtrusive and out of the way of patrons and employees as much as possible.* Yes
Zimboo maintained proper behavior, ignoring food and being quiet.* Yes


When told to drop the leash, the team maintained control and Jana got the leash back in position.* Yes


Another person can take Zimboo’s leash and Jana can move away without aggression or undue stress on the part of Zimboo.* Yes


Zimboo stayed in relative heel position. Always
Zimboo was calm around traffic.* Yes
Zimboo stopped when Jana came to a halt. Always


Zimboo waited until commanded to enter the vehicle. Yes
Zimboo readily entered the vehicle upon command. Yes


When Zimboo did well, Jana praised Zimboo. Always
Zimboo is relaxed, confident, and friendly. Always
Jana kept Zimboo under control. Always
Jana was prepared with proper working materials and equipment in case of an access confrontation (laws, etc.). Yes


Denise and her Terrier, Lance

From our trainer, Renee in Austin, who had her first assessment/intake session with Denise and her Terrier, “Lance”. Denise suffers from diabetes, anxiety, and Sjorgren’s Disease (a mild form of lupus) and would like Lance to be trained as a medical alert Service Dog.

Renee writes:

“ We met at Denise’s home for our first session. SDIT Lance met all the criteria of the assessment regarding temperament and trainability. Denise will need to work a little with Lance not being distracted by other dogs, but absolutely no aggression was exhibited. His shot records were already obtained and he is on monthly preventative. They had also had him recently groomed at PetSmart, so he is well taken care of. Lance exhibits a close bond with Denise, which is just the ticket. Her two sons in the home and husband are all on-board with doing whatever they can to make the training go well.

We focused on the assessment and on encouraging Denise to have a clear picture of what she would like Lance to do in order to best help her. She will ultimately be teaching him to “Find Help” if she should have a diabetic crisis and then, of course, to bring that help (person) back to her. She feels that Lance is already alerting her when she is having anxiety.

Homework given for the next session was to work on being around the distraction of other dogs while maintaining focus on Denise. She will also get Lance out to the football practice sessions her sons have, thus giving Lance distractions by large crowds and by other dogs. She will also work on a clear picture of what her goal will be with Lance to best help her in the situation of her hypoglycemia and lupus symptoms. Denise will also review and be knowledgeable of the tasks ahead that will be mastered to pass the Public Assess Test. Denise will be ordering the proper vest and equipment. She hopes also to find out about the Flex Account that ideally will help her to pay for the sessions.



From our super trainer, Brenda, who performed the Public Access Test with Wounded Warrior Denise and her now Service Dog, lab mix Sandy!!! Denise suffers from diabetes, PTSD, and needs medical alerts due to her struggles with the wheelchair and resulting difficulties.

“We performed the Public Access Test at Denise’s home, the supermarket, and Church’s Chicken. Denise and Sandy performed “controlled load and unload into a vehicle”, “approaching the building”, “controlled entry through a doorway”, “heeling through the building”, “six foot recall on lead”, “sitting on command” (mostly), “downing on command” (mostly), “ignoring noise distractions”, “restaurant etiquette”, “off-lead leash drop”, “dog taken by another person”, and “controlled exit” (mostly).

There was a bit missing during the “Team Relationship”, because Sandy received a grade of mostly for being completely relaxed and confident, and completely under control, but otherwise they did fine in this category.

Due to the fact that both Brenda and Denise use wheelchairs, they did not load into/out of a traditional vehicle; they took the bus. However, Brenda has seen Denise load/unload with her provider’s truck and the VIA Bus where Sandy performed the tasks perfectly!

Awesome job guys!!!!!

Amazing session with Greg

Laurie had an amazing session with Greg, who suffers with bipolar disorder, severe anxiety, and severe depression. Greg also has diabetes. He is training with beautiful rescue, SDIT “Missy”. Laurie was simply stunned when she had her first session with Greg and Missy. Greg has an uncanny ability with dogs, and had read the training manual so carefully that he knew every command he needed to teach her. Greg truly has a brilliant mind. When he opened the door, he already had Missy in a sit/stay position when he let me in the door. I walked in, and Missy delicately accepted a treat, did not jump at all although her tail was wagging! It was extremely apparent that they had already developed a very close bond in the few weeks they had been together. Greg is a very, very kind, compassionate, loving person, and it showed by how Missy always wanted to be by his side, made excellent eye contact with him, and seemed happy, healthy, and content.

We went over basic commands such as “sit”, “wait”, “stay”, “down”, “watch me”, etc, and Missy and Greg were perfect. Next, we decided to go on a walk to the park area across from Greg’s apartment. Missy eagerly but calmly put on her vest and leash – with just a regular collar – and when we exited, Greg had Missy wait at the door until he gave her the command to “go through”. Missy stayed in an absolutely perfect heel alongside Greg at all times – no pulling whatsoever – even when people passed by or a cat appeared. She was focused on Greg. We walked around the apartment complex a bit, and then had to cross a very busy street to get to the park. When we got to the curb, Greg did not even have to give Missy a command – she immediately sat and waited until it was clear to cross!

When we got to the park, Greg explained that Missy had certain areas where she regularly eliminated, and we walked through the grass with Missy doing normal sniffing but absolutely no pulling. There was no time when Greg had to tell her to “leave it”. When we arrived at her “spot”, she promptly eliminated, and Greg reinforced this with “go potty”. Greg uses very little treats to motivate Missy – she seems to thrive on his love and the affection and positive reinforcement he gives her for being such a good girl. We passed by some children, and I asked Greg if he and Missy had encountered children before and how she reacted. Greg has a very large extended family with many children that visit or that he visits, and he said that Missy just loves children and is gentle and snuggly with them. We met a woman who asked if she could pet Missy, and Greg gave permission – and Missy was a perfect lady – first sniffing the woman’s hand and then accepting her pets. She even commented that she wished “all dogs were like that”.

When we arrived back at Greg’s home, Missy did the exact same sit and wait at the door until he gave her the command to go through. Missy was a bit tired after our long walk, and she laid down and when I went to pet her, she adorably rolled over and I gave her several well-deserved tummy rubs.

I sat with Greg and explained to him that after having done this for many years, I was genuinely astonished at how much self-training he had done with Missy. He even explained that Missy sleeps with him or very close by, and if he has nightmares, she is already alerting to them and will come and lick his face to wake him up. She also seems to be picking up on his sugar levels, because she gets very clingy and licks or paws him when they get too high or too low.

Unfortunately, Greg has to have a quite serious surgery on his foot due to a wound that will not heal due to his diabetes. However, he said that as soon as the surgery is over (it is in about one week), he will be ready to do more training in public. I mentioned that he will probably be in a lot of pain, and not to push it – but he cleverly answered that because he has neuropathy in that leg, he won’t feel the pain! But he promised he will follow doctor’s orders about walking and will take it slow. Of course, I told him that we can always do public training in a place where there are motorized chairs. Greg is also doing a magnificent job of weaning off of some of his many medications under his doctor’s supervision – he is a very, very determined and dedicated person who is ready, with his new beautiful buddy, Missy – to start making significant changes in his life to get out into the world and show them all he has and wants to offer!!! It was truly an honor to meet him. I honestly left with a tear in my eye by his inspiration.

PS Greg has learned a lot of training techniques from a you tube site called “kikopup”.

Desiree and Ollie

Desiree, who suffers from diabetes, and Laurie had a WONDERFUL time training at Target with her adorable St. Bernard mix, Ollie!! Ollie is just the most lovable dog imaginable! Everyone can’t help but just stop and ask to pet his adorable self!

Laurie writes:  Ollie did spectacularly at our Target session! He already has conquered “sit”, “down”, “sit/stay”, “down/stay”, “leave it”, “controlled entry and exit from a car and into buildings”, elevators, “heel”, “dropped leash heel”, and we exposed him to so many hilarious distractions at Target – I don’t think he’ll ever be afraid of anything!! (He was a little confused at all the huge TVs – but watched them like he was enjoying the show). We also got Ollie to maneuver perfectly with the motorized cart, which Desiree might need at times when her diabetes makes her lethargic or too tired to walk. He even had a ride on the big carts at Target and once he got used to it, he enjoyed the strange movement!! The more the dog is exposed to (and Desiree is very creative!), the more he will be able to keep his focus on Desiree if she starts experiencing symptoms.

Desiree is working at home on Ollie detecting her high sugar levels first. Ollie is alerting most of the time, but it’s not 100%, so we discussed ways to reinforce this. I suggested to Desiree that she put a small drop of something sweet on a spot on her arm – like a dab of honey. She should sit in another room with the arm lying next to her in an inconspicuous position. Ollie should be in another room held by Desiree’s fiance, then released when Desiree calls Ollie. He needs to come immediately to her, find the “sweet spot”, and first smell and lick it – then Desiree must encourage Ollie to “paw” at her arm as an alert. She should also practice by placing a drop of something sweet in her mouth, and doing the same method, have Ollie release to come to her and smell her breath, lick her, then move to pawing. Ollie should only be praised at this point when he starts the pawing.

Beto and his SDiT Osito

From our trainer Michelle, who is in New Mexico.

“I had the pleasure of meeting with Beto and his SDiT Osito. Beto is a Vietnam Veteran with memory loss, diabetes and agent orange.

Training went well and we worked on making sure Beto knows how to hold the leash to prevent Osito from running off when the team works together. Osito also worked on “Leave it.” He does that perfectly! While working on Sit/stay and down/stay, not so much. I have learned from watching this team that SDiT Osito needs to be at Beto’s feet in case something happens with Beto’s medical condition, as Osito is extremely bonded to Beto. SDiT Osito has also learned when Beto says “Medicine” he comes and alerts Beto to take his meds! This is awesome, as it was a concern in the beginning.

SDiT Osito does alert to Beto’s diabetes – low and high! Good work team! I believe that with the new training, Osito will be ready for testing within the next 2 visits. He is a perfect little dog, and is still getting used to his vest – he is adorable.

Great work Team…. Keep up the work and training!

Beto and Osito

Another wonderful update from our trainer Michelle, in New Mexico, who is working with Beto, a Wounded Warrior who is in the early stages of Alzheimer’s and has diabetes, and his SDIT, Osito!

Michelle writes:

“I met with Beto and SDiT Osito. It was a good visit. However, Beto’s short term memory is quickly fading. He was not able to remember the things we talked about regarding commands. However, he was able to remember to check his blood sugar when Osito began kissing him and alerted to high sugar levels in excess of 250; scary!!! AWESOME JOB OSITO!!!!!!

We also worked on “leave it”, and by the end of the small session OSITO would not take it unless told he could have the treat!!!!!

Beto’s wife, Maribel, was out of town taking care of family, and was unable to help with the training these last 2 weeks. She reassured me these next two weeks she will help more.

We did get SDIT Osito to start wearing his vest, which came in the mail. Maribel will be doing some alterations so that it doesn’t hurt Osito when he wears his vest. The xs is still too large, and patches are being sewn on.

I still have high hopes for this team, they just need reminders. We will work with things like sticky notes, writing pads, etc. Beto loves his Osito SO very much!”


John and his wonderful SD Sancho

Veteran John and his wonderful SD Sancho are still going strong! Sancho is getting a few grey hairs – he’s 8 – but he still listens to every one of John’s commands and is as lovable as ever! John has been taking extra care of himself because they believe he is having mini-strokes, which sometimes affect his speech and memory along with his movement – but he’s a real trooper and tries not to let it get him down! Caretaker Mary takes John and Sancho to all their appointments at the VA and with specialists, and Sancho is still as helpful and devoted as ever. John just loves Sancho to pieces!

Mary wrote about their recent outing to the Garden Center on Bandera Rd, were they got 3 plants. John loves to garden, and at our last session, he and Mary had cleaned up all the vegetable and flower beds and it was beautiful! They also went to Walmart and got some cactus and hats for the sun protection. It is important for John and Sancho to get out the house and walk and just get away from things so that John does not have to stay at home and focus on his disabilities. Amazingly, even with the inability to use one arm, John volunteers at the Guide Dogs of Texas, washing drinking bowls, helping keep things clean, and being around other dogs. His volunteer work gives him something to make him feel purposeful. John and Sancho will also continue to do therapy dog work as they have been – they are so good at it, and John has a wonderful sense of humor that is infectious for those who are in need of uplifting.

Here are some pictures of me outside with Sancho – I love to brush him with the Furminator because he sheds so much and I know it feels good for him! You can also see from the pictures how much Sancho loves John. And Sancho does REALLY well in his booties!!!


Donna and SD Dennie

From our dear client, Donna, with SD, Dennie!!! Donna writes:

“Last weekend I was admitted to the hospital for a touch of pneumonia. As you can see from the attached picture, Dennie is once again right there in bed me and doesn’t leave my side. As I explained in my previous email, Dennie can tell when my blood sugar is dropping. This is an added bonus as Dennie is my mobility SD. Don’t know what I would do without her.”


SDiT Osito

I met with Beto today and his very amazing SDiT Beto.  Today we focused on getting his baby’s vest ordered with patches and a few training items from Petsmart.  We got training treats and leash (retractable) and worked on sit/down/stay while at petsmart.    Osito, is used to being off leash and just walking around with dad.  I reminded Beto, that he had to keep him on the leash and work on training him with the Clicker, and both positive and treats.  Beto is also going to work with his wife on treats for medicine reminders.  (thinking a little peanut butter on a spoon – Osito’s favorite).  Beto is also going to start to keep a log to see when Osito begins to lick him, which he will begin checking his sugar levels to find out if he is high or low glucos.  Great idea…..

Thank you Petsmart @ Sunland Park (El Paso) for making sure we didnt need any help and were able to find the training treats ok.  Especially after a female customer tried telling me that blue buffalo was killing dogs, I kindly told her, that I was a service dog trainer, hence my shirt, and as my dog ate blue buffalo (Grain free) that it was fine.  So I appologized to Beto for the interruption, as he was not concerned.