Brett Young & Diabetes Assistance Dog Barbie
Author: Vera Mariner
Barbie is loved and spoiled, and she deserves it. She provides a life-saving service to client Brett Young from Saint Cloud, Minn. as a Diabetes Assist Dog. Managing a chronic condition is not for the faint of heart and Brett has strategized a care team that has created a comfortable and safe existence. Barbie is captain of that team. Her ability to alert Brett if his blood sugar is low is lifesaving.
Even though Brett’s Continuous Glucose Monitor* is a brilliant tool for him, he does not hear when the sensor goes off due to its subtle sound that cannot be turned up. That’s when two-and-a-half-year-old chocolate Labrador Barbie steps in. In addition, due to Brett’s ever-changing insurance plan, he never knows when insurance will drop payment on this vital machine, so his “back-up” monitor Barbie really is his foremost soldier. Brett notes, “Having Barbie is invaluable. She’s like my shadow!”
“Barbie is alerting me a lot earlier than my Continuous Glucose Monitor is. I don’t hear my Continuous Glucose Monitor especially at night and that is a very important issue.”
Because dogs have an absolutely uncanny ability for smell, Can Do Canines are trained to notice a certain smell in their owner’s breath that indicates a chemical change due to rapidly dropping or low blood sugar levels. They are trained identify this scent.
Brett has enjoyed watching Barbie realize her full potential in their journey together, not only as an assistance dog but as a caring, playful companion who loves to snuggle in bed and have her belly rubbed. Oh, and of course Barbie adores playing ball!
“Suffering from chronic depression, Barbie gets me out of the house. It’s very important for me to get up and get out. To see and do things. She helps my mood a lot.”
Brett came across Can Do Canines and applied shortly after researching the organization. Brett was chosen in March and started training with Barbie in September. The sun, moon and stars were definitely aligned for Brett and Barbie to be together. Brett wants clients waiting for two to three years for an assistance dog not to give up hope. “It is such a blessing to have a dog who helps you manage whatever disability you have,” says Brett. He calls the wait worthwhile and the end result a huge gift.
“Thank you just doesn’t seem to be enough. Thank you to the team that it took to raise her. It takes a village to raise her from being a puppy to being trained.”
Because of donors, volunteers and supporters like you, Brett and Barbie are a successful team! Because of your support we can match lifesaving dogs like Barbie with wonderful clients like Brett. Thank you!
* “Continuous Glucose Monitor is a way to measure glucose levels in real time throughout the day and night. A tiny electrode called a glucose sensor is inserted under the skin to measure glucose levels in tissue fluid.”
Thank you to all those who made this partnership possible:
Special Thanks – The Inmate Handlers at the Federal Correctional Institution-Waseca
Dog Donor – Armstrong Kennel