have had type 1 diabetes since I was seven-years-old. For some
unexplainable reason, I've always had a problem with my blood sugar
dropping dangerously low in the middle of the night. Living alone,
it's been something that I've worried about (passing out while
I was completely dependent on family, friends, and professors and an
elaborate system of phone calls just to make sure that I was
conscious in the mornings. When I got Montana, as a six-week-old
puppy, all of that changed.
The first time Montana woke me up in the night, he was probably
six-months-old, and I was so upset that he had disturbed my sleep.
He kept barking at me. He would bark and then come close to my face
and cry and then bark again. I was really groggy and so angry that
he was waking me up.
I sat up and turned on the light, only to find that I was feeling
horribly. After I had been up for a while, I tested my blood sugar
and found that at 28 it was dangerously low. Montana didn't need to
go out, nor was anything else wrong. He just wanted me to wake up.
I really thought it was some sort of a miracle, and I can't tell you
how guilty I felt for being so mad that he was barking.
since, that I have had a bad low at night, Montana has faithfully
barked, whined, nudged me, or done a combination of the three until
I have woken up. And, this happens several times a
month, sometimes more often.
I once told my doctor about Montana's miraculous ability, assuming
that she would think I was crazy. Oddly enough, she wasn't at all
surprised. She said she doesn't know what it is, but that dogs and
cats seem to be able to sense that something is wrong. Maybe a
change in body temperature, maybe irregular breathing or movement...
Who knows... Whatever it is, I'm truly grateful for Montana, my
I have only recently finished college and work as a professional
violist and music teacher, playing with several different orchestras
and teaching private lessons. I've been able to live alone and
travel alone, and not worry about putting so much stress on my
family and friends. My doctors have written letters so that Montana
is able to travel and go everywhere with me. He has been featured in
several diabetes articles about hypoglycemic alert dogs [Diabetes
Alert Dogs by Marie Rosenthal, MS. in Diabetes Self Management,
July/August 2010, pages 23-26]. Even though Montana was never
officially certified as a service dog, he has saved my life dozens
of times over, and functions as a service dog for me.