We were thrilled when we had the opportunity to make the announcement on air at FOX 26 that a diabetic alert dog could be a very real possibility for a local family in need. It all started with the dream of the owners of Canine Country Club in Katy. They are in the process of training a dog to sniff out low blood sugar levels, and they wanted to give their special dog to a deserving family.
Jeff and Adrienne Murphrey are accustomed to teaching dogs better manners. This time, they are training a dog to possibly save someone's life. The Murphreys put out a request for families to come forward, who were struggling with the difficulties of Type 1 Diabetes.
The Lischka family from neighboring Bellville was watching FOX 26 Morning News that day. It paid off, because they have been awarded Splenda.
"We took in applications from all over: Houston, Katy, The Woodlands, Spring, Bellville. We contacted several people after reading their applications. We went through the criteria, moved on from there and selected the family," says Adrienne Murphrey.
The Murphreys wanted to find the perfect fit for the dog and child, because Type 1 Diabetes can cause serious dips in blood sugar. Researchers have figured out that a well-trained dog can smell out the danger and warn family members before it is too late. They found the perfect partnership in the form of 6-year-old Landon Lischka. His parents received the good news on Christmas Day by phone.
"Both of us were very shocked & surprised and overwhelmed," says Landon's parents, Jared and Candy. They feel that Landon's childhood will feel much safer with Splenda by his side.
"As a mom and dad with a child with a disability it's just always nice to get a helping hand, but in this case, a paw to help him and catch him when he's low and know he's going to be cared for - and the freedom of being a boy - and in a cool way," says Candy.
Landon says having Splenda by his side is a cool way to deal with Diabetes and now he can't wait to take her to school. This is important because he has a dangerous form of the disease that causes sudden, life-threatening drops in his blood sugar. Like many diabetics, Landon and his parents have to monitor everything from what he eats to how much he exercises, to his emotional stress. Since he has Type 1 Diabetes, all of these things affect his blood glucose, or blood sugar. "We check him 6 to 8 times a day and we just keep in good contact with the school nurse. We check him in the middle of the night. 2:00 AM is usually my watch, and Jared checks at 5:30 in the morning, to make sure he stayed during the night, the most important thing," says Candy.
Landon tried an insulin pump, but it just didn't work for him. "He hated every aspect of it. He just doesn't want anything attached to him, he just wants to play and run," says Candy. Landon says he does okay with his six to eight insulin injections a day. Getting Splenda doesn't mean the Lishka's can let down their guard though. "She'll just be part of the equation, we'll still do our checks and it's going to be nice to have her there for "in between" times," explains Candy.
Splenda should hopefully move in full-time with the Lischka family when she completes her remaining three months of training. An alert dog like Splenda can cost anywhere from $10,000 up to $25,000; that is because it takes months of specific training.
On the Web:
Diabetic Alert Dog -- http://www.diabeticalertdog.com/
Canine Country Club -- http://www.mycaninecountryclub.com/