Dante the Diabetic Alert Dog

WRITTEN BY: Meredith Wimberly

Almost 20 years ago, my pancreas stopped creating insulin and I walked out of a hospital with a new diagnosis and way of life that promised a lifetime of ups, downs, needle sticks and injections. As a newly diagnosed Type 1, I would now have to attempt to do from the outside of my body, what was intended to be done from the inside with an estimated 4,000 blood sugar checks and 50-100 insulin pump changes each year. What I didn’t know as a 5-year-old newly diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes, is that this new life also promised the sweetest adventure of learning, living and choosing joy in all things.

For 20 years, I have poked myself more than most pincushions have been poked, drank more juice boxes than the average 5-year-old and spent enough time in doctor’s offices to have my own VIP parking spot.

A couple years ago, I learned about Diabetic Alert Dogs (DADs). DADs are trained to identify when a diabetic’s blood sugar rises and falls and serve as an aid to help maintain a stable blood sugar. Until there is a cure, there will only be things that help make managing diabetes better and I was graciously given the opportunity to become a part of a DAD team with the sweetest chocolate lab named Dante (@thepancreaticpooch).

Life as a Diabetic Alert Dog team is a constant reminder that Type 1 is difficult. Dante lives to alert my high or low blood sugar and about once an hour, I am being pawed at because my blood sugar is above or below 120-150. If I ignore an alert, there’s a dog in my lap. At work, there’s an office buddy at my feet … at the grocery store, there’s a shopping buddy … in a restaurant, there’s a dinner partner, always. When I’m crying because I’m just sick of diabetes, he’s in my lap, licking my tears. He is a gift and an extra layer of security to the unpredictability that diabetes brings.

Dante’s name means “enduring;” his job is 24/7, his companionship is always and he is an enduring source of care. My smart and sweet pup lives up to every bit of the meaning of his name and provides steadfastness in the roller coaster of an adventure that life with Type 1 brings. Dante is the sweetest reminder of joy, faithfulness and care. Until there’s a cure, every day is a journey that sometimes brings frustration, but growth … annoyance, but perseverance … difficulties, but joy.

While the numbers, facts and reality of Type 1 diabetes are overwhelming, I am happy to be a T1 that seeks the fullness of joy in the midst of many highs and lows alongside a sweet pup that makes that possible. My name is Meredith Wimberly, and I joyfully Live Beyond.

More about Diabetic Alert Dogs – DADS – here.

Meredith Wimberly

Meredith Wimberly is a joyful T1 from Dallas, Texas, celebrating her 20th Diaversary this year! She's passionate about anything that inspires hope in others and lives to seek joy in all things — small, exciting and adventurous! She loves spending time outside, crafting and sewing. She boasts in the fact that anything she can do with her hands, she can probably do with her feet (playing piano included). Her facial expressions can mimic most all cartoon characters and she's particularly moved to tears by the sight of an elephant. You can follow Meredith on Instagram @merrrylouhoo.