A year ago at this time I was not in a good mental space. Our 7-year-old son Cyrus had been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes two months prior and I was struggling. Cyrus was our third child to be diagnosed with Type 1 in ten years and I was grieving in a big way.
Grief and Generosity
Today the whole country is grieving. Not over diabetes but another serious health condition; COVID 19. As a result, I have been hesitant to write any kind of update on our diabetic alert dog because in all honesty a service dog is a luxury. It seems insensitive to talk about a dog that costs as much as a new car when people are losing their jobs and lives. But a few people have asked about our progress recently and it reminded me that it is only through the generosity of others that we have been able to pursue a service dog. Others are invested in our service dog Jarvis as much as we are and it is only right that they be able to continue to be a part of this journey with us.
JARVIS IS PAID FOR IN FULL!!!
It seems surreal to type those words but thanks to the generosity of family, friends and strangers alike we have met our goal. If you are reading this there is probably a good chance you played a role in helping us. THANK YOU!
Work To Be Done
Even though Jarvis is paid for he still has a lot of training to finish before he can come home. Our service dog trainer (Lily Grace) offers tiered pricing depending on the level of training a dog gets before they go home. If a client is willing and able to put in the time and effort to finish training themselves (with Lily Grace’s guidance) they can choose to have a “started puppy” as early as 6 months old. We knew that with the varied needs of our eight children we would not be able to invest a lot of extra time training a dog at home. We chose an “adult finished dog”. An adult finished diabetic alert dog is typically between the ages of 12 -18 months old. Jarvis will be 1 year old the first week of June. Lily Grace is very pleased with Jarvis’ training progress (as are we) but she would like to continue to keep working with him through the summer. This will give Jarvis time to outgrow more of his puppy tendencies that are completely normal for his age.
Jarvis is consistently alerting to high and low blood sugar samples from all three kids. The next biggest focus for his training will be public access training. According to Lily Grace, Jarvis has “never met a stranger”. He loves people and can be easily distracted by others in public that attempt to talk to him or give him attention. This is very normal behavior for Jarvis’ age and is a testament to his good temperament but Jarvis needs to be able to keep his focus 100% on his job when in public.
Change of Plans
Obviously we are anxious for Jarvis to join our family and help us in our war on diabetes but we also want to make sure he is completely ready. We were originally hoping to have Jarvis join us this summer but God knew that the timing would not be right. Our summer will most likely look very different than we had planned due to COVID 19 and its affects on our state. As a result my responsibilities will most likely keep me busier than I anticipated which would make it more difficult to integrate Jarvis into our family. I am thankful God is sovereign in all of this and knew that summer would not be an ideal time for Jarvis to come home. In the meantime we will continue to be patient and encouraged by Lily Grace’s photos and videos of Jarvis’ progress while we wait.