Like many of you, our family had high hopes for a new year. After a year of tough decisions and big change we were looking forward to settling in and finding a new rhythm. Unfortunately 2021 is not starting out as we had hoped.
A few days after Christmas, Jarvis (our service dog) bit someone. I am not going to go into a lot of detail except to say the incident was unprovoked and happened to someone outside of our immediate family that Jarvis had met multiple times. The bite was serious and could have been worse considering the person was wearing gloves.
Obviously this incident caught us completely off guard and we were unsure how to proceed. Following the bite, Jarvis continued to show behaviors that were concerning to us. We can only speculate as to why this happened but it was clear that Jarvis was not adjusting well to our family. Our trust and confidence in Jarvis was shaken and we knew it would not be wise to try and risk keeping him. After talking it over with Jarvis’ trainer we decided the best thing to do for Jarvis was to return him to his trainer. It just so happened that his trainer was already planning to be in a city about an hour from where we live so we arranged to meet so she could take Jarvis home with her.
WE. ARE. DEVASTATED.
The obvious benefit to owning a diabetic alert dog is the extra safeguard against high and low blood sugar events. The hardest adjustment for us though will not be managing their physical health without Jarvis, but navigating their mental health. The added benefit of a diabetic alert dog is the mental/emotional support they can often bring. Adolescents with type 1 diabetes can have up to five times the rate of depression and anxiety than adolescents who do not have type 1 diabetes. We have experienced this statistic in our family and we were thrilled to see our kids finding comfort and support in Jarvis’ presence. Telling our kids that we would be returning Jarvis was absolutely heartbreaking and still brings tears as I type these words.
I want to be absolutely clear about the fact that we do not blame Jarvis’ trainer in any way. I still believe she is one of the best trainers out there and I would recommend her in a heartbeat. She has graciously offered to train another dog for us no charge. We need time however to grieve and process this loss before making the decision whether to try again.
My husband and I have obviously been talking a lot about this with each other. We are both struggling with feelings of failure and guilt. We know there is no one to blame but we cannot help but feel like we have let down everyone that gave so generously and entrusted us with their gifts. Our hearts are extremely vulnerable right now. If you truly feel the need to comment on this post we would kindly ask you to please refrain from questions, advice, and/or sharing similar experiences. We are unable to handle even one well intentioned yet possibly unmindful or insensitive remark. The best thing you could do for our family is pray for us. Our kids with diabetes are especially hurting and will need time to process their feelings and heal from the loss. Sometimes a broken heart is harder to heal than a broken pancreas. Thank you in advance for your love, support and understanding.