Tuesday, June 14, 2011


Shortly after our daughter was dx with T1D I heard about these amazing dogs that can sniff low and high blood sugars.  My blogging friend Meri has one in fact for her boys.  I did a little research and all I could come up with was that you had to be at least 12 years of age to be eligible to receive one of these dogs.  I put the thought on the back burner but was anxious to get a diabetic alert dog as soon as Bekah turned 12.

One day I was surfing around wasting time on FB and saw that one of my friends had "liked" Warren Retrievers Diabetic Alert Dogs.  This peaked my interest so I went to their web site and filled out a form to receive more information.  With in an hour I got a phone call from Dan Warren (the owner of Warren Retrievers).  We talked, and talked, and talked (mostly Dan talked-he likes to talk ;) ).  He filled my head with so much information about his dogs that are bread via invitro fertilization for scent recognition and reassured me there is no age limit becuase diabetes has no age limit.  I got off the phone and fell to my knees in prayer, "Lord if this is something you want for our family then please provide it for us" 

We are a family of humble means and literally rely on God to get us through each month financially.  I couldn't fathom the extra expense of a dog especially one of these capable canines.   I knew though that where God guides He provides so I put it in His hands.  Once we payed the down payment of $1,000 (given by my generous MIL) then the fundraising had to begin.
I brain stormed and thought that we could come up with a few hundred dollars if we put on a garage sale and maybe a little more if we added a bake sale component to it.  Bekah loves doing lemonade stands so I thought we could set one up for her and maybe we'd get a few generous folks who can't resist the idea of her having a dog to help her with T1D (plus she is pretty darn cute). 

I came up with a date and location.  I knew that our house is a little off the beaten path so a place closer to a main road and probably bigger would be best.  I called Rose, the sweet little 80+ year old that manages our grange hall and set it up.  I made an events page on FB requesting items to be sold and then made flyers.  I made them two sided and took the opportunity to spread awareness about T1D on one side.  I took the flyers to the school and local businesses.  

As the stuff came in, it be came apparent that we would probably need the grange for an extra day so we could set everything up and were pleasantly surprised that it was open.  Again I just put it in God's hands and knew that He would bring the stuff and the people to buy it.  Stuff came and came and came.  We spent at least 14 hour hauling stuff from our house and setting it up on tables. 

I fell in to bed the night before the sale and slept what felt like 5 minutes before getting up to gear up the next morning.  Lucky for me adrenaline was making up for my lack of sleep (3 hrs I think was what I was running on).  We set up signs, one of which was donated by a friend who does graphic design work.

9 AM came and people trickled in to our sale at a steady stream until 5 PM that night.  We still had tons of stuff left over and if I were to do it again I would do a two day sale (although I am not sure I would have had the energy for another day).  We went through 6 gallons of lemonade, many dozens of cookies, some coffee and several hot dogs (they were mostly for the workers but I made a sign for donations if anyone else wanted some). 
Luckily there was a youth group having a sale in a couple of weeks that came and got almost everything that was left.  We had a few treasures that we held aside to put on Craig's list and the rest got loaded up and donated to the youth sale.  The clean up took many hours though.  I don't think I have ever been so tired in my entire life!

My children were amazing!  All of them well behaved (even D) and had a great time!  On Friday evening a friend brought by a couple of bikes to donate and Bekah was getting bored so she found a helmet that someone else had donated and put it on.  She took one of the bikes out in the parking lot (a two wheeler) and taught herself how to ride.  She has not stopped for long ever since.  (we had to keep that one)  Both of my girls scored a whole new wardrobe in addition to a few treasures that I allowed them to keep. 

David crashed on a crib mattress
There are really no words for how incredibly hard my husband worked.  He is my hero! 
On top of the physical labor, he talked up the dog to people and seeing this daddy's love for his daughter caused them to dig a little deeper in their pockets.

I know I am not doing this experience justice as I write about it.  It really was one of those God times where your spirit just leads in step with God and He delivers in the most amazing ways!  The people that came to help with both set up and clean up were perfect.  They knew just what they needed to do and went to work.  I can't thank them enough!!

Our babysitter (she is grown up now and hasn't babysat for us for a while) called her friends and 3 guys showed up to help load the boxes up for the youth group.  One of these young men began asking about the dog and when Bekah was dx etc.  His questions were too good for a regular man in his mid 20s to be asking.  He knew what to ask and had lingo that only another diabetic would have.  Turns out he was dx at age 5 and is an Animas pumper as well.  We had a great conversation about D and what it was like for him growing up and how he manages it as a working man.  It was neat to have a "same" experience in the midst of our sale.

Our sale brought in over $2 thousand (before selling the items on Craig's List) toward Bekah's diabetic alert dog.  It's a nice start.  We have about 2 years to pay off the total of the dog and it's training (and travel expenses for the trainer 3-4xs). 

We are currently on a waiting list of about 6-8 months (depends on how many pups pass the scent test that they do at 9 days of age and how many litters are whelped). We should have our pup (12 weeks of age) around the first of 2011. 

Here are a few more photos of the stuff that was donated:
some very nice kitchen appliances all in great shape and working order

a book worm's dream

shoes galore

Dan Warren saw this photo on FB and called me, he bought both saddles and took the amount plus shipping off the price of the dog (it cost $118 to ship these babies to Virginia)  I hope he loves them!!

Lots of kid items
I took these photos on Friday and was way to busy Saturday to even think about taking pictures.  We had 4 or 5 desks, 2 books shelves, a piano, a kitchen table and chairs, a Barbie power wheels, a few bikes, car wheel rims, etc., etc., etc. out side as well. 


  1. How amazingly awesome!! Sounds like huge success!
    Excited for Bekah...a tad jealous, if I'm being honest!!
    God indeed provides!

  2. That's so great! Funny you posted this because I applied for my own diabetes alert dog about a week ago. I had heard of them before and then there was that article a couple weeks ago in the Oregonian...so I checked it out and applied though dogs 4 diabetics. The cost for one is only $150 but I think there is an age limit for that one, unfortunately. Also, because they're in such high demand and it training takes time, they said the wait time could be up to a year. I figured I should just try for it now and see what happens. Hopefully I hear something!! You'll have to full us in when you hear back from them.

  3. This is wonderful Heidi. I am so impressed by the organizing that it took on your part...and by the generosity of your community as well.

  4. I looked in to all of the programs out there. For our family this one seems best. It was important to me to get the dog as a puppy so it could properly bond with the children. Socialization for dogs is huge and needs to happen in those first six months. With our family dynamic, this way seemed best. It is more expensive than the other programs out there though.

  5. this is amazing and a true testament. I am so happy you raised so much! That is wonderful!!

  6. Wow Heidi! People are being so generous. What a blessing. God is opening hearts! Love you!