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Jen Black's Fundraiser:

Diabetic Alert Dog for Kira

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owner profile imageJen Black via Crowdrise
April 03, 2012

see photos for a butterfly, a spaghetti monster, and Kira reading the paper!  See more
Jen Black


This is my niece, Kira. She's two years old and diabetic. She has type 1 diabetes and is hypoglycemic unaware, meaning she cannot sense or communicate changes in her glucose. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease that is not contagious and cannot be prevented. Only about 5% of all diabetics are Type 1 Diabetics, with diabetes ranking as the 7th leading cause of death in the United States.

I am working towards raising the funds to get Kira a diabetic alert dog. This dog will be trained to alert when Kira's glucose is getting high/low, even waking her overnight if there are dangerous changes, and will provide her with 24/7 security as well as companionship, confidence, and as she ages - independence.

These dogs can alert to significant changes in glucose well before a modern glucose monitor can, especially between checks which occur approximately 15 times a day. Early detection will help prevent the major complications of type 1 diabetes including: seizure, organ damage, amputations, retinopathy, neuropathy, heart disease, kidney failure and death.

Kira's dog will be trained in public access and be protected under ADA as a service animal, allowing the dog to be her constant guardian when she is old enough to go to school. A diabetic alert dog will both improve her quality of life, as well as save her life by preventing serious complications from developing as a result of high/low glucose.

We need $1,000 to put Kira on the active waiting list for a diabetic alert dog. Once on the list, it will be approximately 8 months before the right dog for Kira is chosen and brought out from Virginia along with a professional trainer to work with Kira and her family. We will need to raise a total of $20,000 total for the dog by the time training is complete. Service animals are not covered by insurance, but provide a valuable lifesaving service to their owners and their families.

Please help us raise the money to put towards a diabetic alert dog for Kira. This dog will both preserve her quality of life as well as save her life.

If you are interested in the story of Kira's diagnosis or where we are getting the diabetic alert dog, please keep reading.

Here's how we found out: In early March 2012 we noticed she was drinking a lot of water and raised the issue to her pediatrician who said that since she wasn't losing any weight, there was probably nothing to worry about. She had recently been allowed to drink from a cup without a lid and was obsessed with it, so the pediatrician chalked it up to being a toddler. The irratability and sleepless nights we wre concerned with were also chalked up to being two years old.

On the morning of March 27, 2012 her mother called 911 because Kira was having trouble breathing and her lips were blue. After being whisked away to the local hospital and later transferred to a children's hospital in Sacramento, Kira was diagnosed suffereing from Diabetic Ketoacidosis, and was diagnosed with Type 1 (insulin dependent) Diabetes. This means her pancreas is nolonger producing insulin as a result of an auto immune malfunction. Ketoacidosis, if severe, can lead to kidney failure and/or a build up of fluid in the brain, leading to seizures,.

After four grueling days in the hospital, full of IVs and constant blood draws and needlesticks/injections, Kira was allowed to return home. She now must have her blood sugar (her "sugar blood" as she calls it) checked every 2 hours in additon to having her food carefully controlled and insulin injected by her parets everytime she eats. The blood sugar checks must be done several times overnight to make sure she doesn't get too low, which could lead to unconsciousness, coma, or death.

Before the diabetes, Kira was a bright and cheerful kid, bursting with personality. Since the diabetes, she's been a bit of a wreck, very subdued and clingy to her mother. I believe a service dog will provide her with a fuzzy friend who's there to help her be her best friend and keep her healthy. I'd really like to see her smile and be the chipper and fun loving kid I know.

I know $20,000 is a lot for what some would consider "just a dog" but this isn't just a dog. This is a service animal that will be able to alert anyone around her of dangerous changes in her blood sugar before they become severe enough to require hospitalization. This dog will also provide Kira with a bonded companion, a friend, security, confidence and independence. If 1,000 people donated just $20, we'd meet our goal!

There are a few other places to get a Diabetic Alert Dog, but few will place a dog with anyone under 12 years of age, some won't place with anyone under age 18. We worry about being able to monitor her condition close enough to keep her safe, without restricting her from being a normal kid.

We will be getting the dog through Guardian Angel Service Dogs and Warren Retrivers, a JDRF (Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation) approved training organization for diabetic alert dogs. If you wish to make a tax-deductible contribution, you may do so through Guardian Angel Service Dogs ( Their tax ID is listed on their site. Please let them know your contribution is for Kira Pulver.

Thank you, your generosity will not be forgotten!




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Jen Black

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