Wednesday, August 24, 2011

How far away?

This post is part of a series called Where's Wuby? Wednesdays where I'll post a new story about Ruby, or diabetic alert dogs in general.  Ruby is a service dog trained to detect high and low blood sugars in Faith and notify me.  She has changed our lives and dramatically improved Faith's blood sugar control.  

If there was ever anything you wanted to know about these dogs, or how they work, ask away and I'll try to answer the best I can; or if you are just as amazed as me at how God created these animals, I hope you'll enjoy reading about the incredible experiences we've had so far with our Ruby.

In the meantime, you can follow Faith and Wuby on Facebook by clicking Here.


One of the questions I'm asked most often is, "How close does Ruby have to be to Faith in order to pick up on her blood sugar changes?"

After spending the year with Ruby and seeing many "long-distance" alerts, I've decided the best answer to that question is: just close enough for God to whisper in Ruby's ear that Faith needs my attention.

One of the most surprising things to me after we got Ruby, was just how well she could detect changes in Faith's blood sugar when she was not even in the same room.  One of the unsung (and unexpected) benefits of Ruby is that she allows me to let Faith run & play without worrying that she's going to fall out from a low.  Faith has no symptoms with her lows most of the time.  She can be running around the room with a blood sugar in the 30's with no symptoms at all.  For that reason, I never let her out of my sight before Ruby.  Now that we have Ruby I have been able to let Faith enjoy simple pleasures that we used to take for granted.  Things like children's church, playing with her siblings in the yard, or playing with the other children at support group.  Even when Ruby doesn't have to alert for a high or low, the shear comfort and peace of mind she gives me (and Faith, but more on that another time) is invaluable to me.

The first time I saw for myself that Ruby could (and would) alert long distance I was blown away.  I was babysitting for a friend with 3 children, so Ruby and I had spent the day in our cozy little house with 7 boisterous rowdy kiddos.  We both needed a breather.  So, when Chuck came home I asked him to take the kids outside to play while I cleaned up the kitchen.  I checked Faith's number and it was in the upper hundreds, so I thought it safe to send her out with the rest of them under the supervision of her daddy.  (She was barely 19 months old at the time.)

I kept Ruby inside with me to let her rest.  I went to the kitchen to start the dishes.  About 20 minutes later Ruby got up to alert.  I chuckled and told her to take a load off and relax.  I took the bringsel from her and put her back on her cot.

I went back to the dishes and a few minutes later Ruby got up to alert again.  I thought to myself that maybe Faith had snuck inside without me realizing it, so Ruby and I looked all around the house for her.  When I realized that Faith was still outside playing I put Ruby back on her place.

A very few minutes later Ruby got up to alert again.  One of the great things about Ruby is that she won't stop alerting until I fix whatever is wrong with Faith's blood sugar.  (This is also one of the most frustrating things when Faith is high, but more on that in another post.)  I knew I was going to have to take Ruby to Faith and check her before Ruby would calm down.

I walked outside and asked Chuck where Faith was.  He pointed out into the pasture, at least 30 yards away, where all the kids were playing happily.  I told him about Ruby alerting and that we needed to check Faith "to convince Ruby that Faith was fine".

We went to Faith and checked her blood sugar to discover that she was 100 and dropping fast!  She was low by the time we got her back to the house!  And not a low symptom in sight!

We couldn't believe it!  How had Ruby done that?  Faith was a LONG way from our house and Ruby and I were inside the house with all the windows closed and the a/c on!  Chuck and I were amazed and SO thankful!

I'd like to say that was the last time I doubted Ruby, but I'm a slow learner.  Someday I'll tell you about the time I doubted Ruby during a nighttime alert, only to find Faith in the beginning stages of a hypo seizure less than an hour later.


  1. Wow! That is truly amazing! How does she do that???!!! It's a God Thing....must be a God Thing!

  2. Totally a God thing! And this is NOT even close to the most amazing distance alerts. I have MANY more stories to share! :)


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