Sherry Christensen & Diabetes Assistance Dog Tesla
Sherry Christensen is a long-time type 1 diabetes warrior from Minneapolis, Minn. having been diagnosed 56 years ago. She has managed her chronic condition plus various mobility challenges with endless patience while adjusting to her health team of doctors, medicines, and devices. Her determination to make her well-being a priority, not a limitation, flourishes through her community involvement and independent living.
Despite a lifetime of scrupulous self-care, brittle type 1 diabetes has caused some complications, including hypo-and hyper-unawareness. The inability to feel when blood glucose levels rise or fall outside of a “target range” results in more detrimental health risks, both short and long term.
Sherry found out about Can Do Canines from her veterinarian’s office and felt this would be the perfect addition to her management means. On deciding to apply to Can Do Canines for a Diabetic Assist Dog, Sherry says, “I’m so grateful and happy that I did! I’ve had enough serious episodes in my lifetime that I could benefit from a dog like Tesla.”
When a two-and-a-half-year-old Goldador (Golden/Labrador Retriever cross) named Tesla happily wiggled her way into Sherry’s life, she had only a slight idea of how much her world would change. Sherry is no stranger to entrusting her life to some updated equipment, but a dog “monitor” would take blind trust. Taking meticulous notes in her glucose/alert logs, Sherry was able to note Tesla reliably alerting her to lows as well as high glucose levels. She learned that when Tesla alerted her, and her blood glucose level was within her target range, it was only a matter of minutes before that number would change to one that could mean a dangerous situation for Sherry.
Thanks to Tesla, Sherry is aware of glucose level changes and can correct a problem before it does damage. Beyond alerting to potentially critical glucose levels, Tesla is able to get the phone from its charging station to Sherry so she can call for help if necessary. Tesla also retrieves juice pouches from the fridge for Sherry so she can correct a low. One could say that Tesla has wonderful manners because she’ll even go back to close the fridge door! Since Sherry also has some mobility limitations, Tesla is able to provide further assistance and safety in retrieving items off the floor.
To everyone involved in making Tesla and assistance dogs like her possible, Sherry says, “Bless your hearts! There’s just nothing better than this dog. Thank you so much to everyone involved in her training and upbringing.”
Thank you to all those who made this partnership possible:
Great Start Home – Judy Cochran
Special Thanks – Christopher Gibbons; The Inmate Handlers at the Federal Correctional Institution – Sandstone