A friend indeed

Juno, Linda Smith’s Diabetic Alert Dog Guide, is always on duty

Devon MacKenzie/News staff Linda Smith and her Diabetic Assistance Dog Juno.

Linda Smith’s daily routine includes checking her insulin levels almost every two hours. But even with her diligent checks and healthy lifestyle, Smith, who suffers from Type 1 Diabetes, can never be sure of her blood sugar levels.

“Because I have hypoglycaemic unawareness it means my blood sugar level can drop suddenly with no warning signs or symptoms,” she explained.

Recently, Smith has been feeling a little more secure in her daily routine because of a new (and furry) friend.

“Juno allows me a type of independence I’ve never experienced,” said Smith.

Juno, a 16-month old yellow Labrador, came from the Lions Foundation of Canada Dog Guides program. He is a Diabetic Alert Dog Guide and is trained to smell changes in Smith’s breath which alert him to low blood sugar levels.

“It’s especially helpful for me at night when I’m sleeping because that’s a time when I can go into hypoglycaemic unawareness and just not wake up,” explained Smith, adding that Juno is always by her side, even when she’s watching TV on the couch.

“He works all day every day with the exception of about 30 minutes a day when he has free time in which he usually likes to play ball. He’s definitely hyper just like me,” Smith laughed.

Smith, who was put on the waiting list for an assistance dog last August said she was elated to have received a dog so quickly.

“It’s all based on the temperament of the dog and how well they match with the applicants and Juno and I just got lucky. We are a great match and he is already such an important part of my life,” she said.

The two spent time training together at the Dog Guides headquarters in Ontario before coming out to B.C. Now Juno is one of only two Diabetic Alert Dog Guides in B.C. and he is the only one on Vancouver Island.

“I think people are confused by him sometimes because on the outside I look like a perfectly healthy person,” said Smith.

“A lot of people ask if I’m just training him and are always surprised to learn that he’s my assistance dog.”

Smith said the many of the same rules apply to Juno as do other service dogs, the main one being that he can’t be touched.

“The one thing with him is that he has to stay focused on me so people can acknowledge him but I am the only one who is allowed to touch him,” Smith explained.

Smith said having Juno has ultimately changed her life.

“Having him means having absolute independence,” said Smith.

“It means I don’t need a partner, I don’t need a roommate, I don’t need someone constantly watching over me. I have the ability to live alone now, or go out alone and that’s freeing.”

For more information on Dog Guides visit www.dogguides.com.

reporter@peninsulanewsreview.com

 

Just Posted

Woodwynn Farms to be shut down and sold

The rehabilitation program at Woodwynn Farms is being shut down. According to… Continue reading

False missile alert for Central Saanich councillor

While on vacation in Hawaii, Central Saanich Councillor Alicia Holman was awoken… Continue reading

Victoria airport nearing billion-dollar mark in economic impact

Airport has nearly doubled its passengers and its impact on the economy since 2005

More buoys allowed for Brentwood Bay

Proposed number rises from 40 to 60

Victoria airport reaches nearly two million passengers in 2017

This year expected to see additional growth

Sidney’s Salish Sea aquarium to close for maintenance

First extended closure for the Shaw Centre for the Salish Sea since it opened in 2009

Butchart Gardens is hiring now and paying more

Wages start at $15, job fair Feb. 20

Cash still needed for Stelly’s Cross Path

MLA Olsen wants more specifics first

Injured parachutist wants stolen backpack back

Bag contained important video files of 2017 parachuting incident

RCMP nail sex toy thief

Shop owner plays a role in arrest

Ice-cream-eating bear draws controversy

An Alberta Wildlife Park posted a video this week of one of their bears going through a Dairy Queen drive-through

LETTER: The sewage spiral continues in Greater Victoria

My left brain has been trying to digest the news and comments… Continue reading

Fernie, RCMP go to court over city log books in fatal ammonia leak probe

Log books center stage in clashing of investigations between the city and RCMP

Renowned Comox Valley sasquatch researcher passes away

A renowned biologist and leading Canadian sasquatch researcher who called the Comox… Continue reading

Most Read