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AN ANGEL OF NEW HOPE BETH KLINGELHOFER AND DIABETES ASSISTANCE DOG FAITH BY KATHY ROSENOW Beth Klingelhofer is a certified public accountant living in Lindenhurst, Ill., with her husband David and their twins, Abby and Ben. Beth is also an insulin-dependent diabetic, which has made it hard for her to keep up with her family’s busy lifestyle, due to unpredictable blood sugar lows and the resulting medical emergencies. But now Beth and her family live with “new hope”, thanks to the arrival of Faith, Beth’s Diabetes Assistance Dog. Diagnosed with diabetes at age 17, Beth lived successfully with the disease for many years, keeping her blood sugar well under control. But with the birth of her twins came the inability to sense low blood sugars, resulting in several occasions when Beth was unable to attend to her children. Believing that her own health should take a back seat to the welfare of her kids, Beth made a decision to let her blood sugars elevate. Over time, she began having additional health complications, and Beth knew she needed to once again take control of her disease. But fear of having a low-sugar episode made her cautious in her activities, and she became more and more isolated in her own home, feeling “trapped between my own wellbeing and my children’s.” Beth was talking with a neighbor after a particularly frightening episode when a voice popped into her head, saying “I wonder if they’ve got a dog for that?” A subsequent internet search pointed Beth to Can Do Canines—in New Hope, Minnesota. “New Hope…I almost feel like it was divine intervention,” says Beth. And so Beth began her journey with Faith, a sweet 2-year-old black Labrador Retriever. Faith learned basic obedience and house manners with her puppy raisers, veterinarian Dr. Lindsay Merkel and her family, who enjoyed taking her out in public. Faith continued her training in the

BETH AND FAITH

prison program and at Can Do Canines, clearly showing a talent for diabetes assist work, as well as a skill for retrieving, and a certain flair for opening doors with a twist and a leap. For Beth, the most difficult part of training was training herself to be consistent in all situations, using the right words in the right way to reinforce Faith’s behaviors. The most fun was when the pair “got something right” and Faith’s joyous tail-wagging and excitement was reward enough for both of them. The two quickly forged a strong bond, and Beth knows that she can rely on Faith to accurately and consistently alert when her blood sugar gets low, in all situations. Faith is trained to nudge Beth, then to retrieve a jar of sugar tablets, and even to get the phone or “get Daddy” if Beth needs additional help. “It’s like having a shadow. She is such a good friend,” reports Beth with a smile. “And I can do things that I wouldn’t do before… I feel very comfortable regaining my independence, doing things that I need to do as a wife and mother, and not having to worry that I’m going to have a medical problem.” To the puppy raisers, fosters, and prison trainers, Beth extends her deepest gratitude. “She is like an angel to me, she has made all the difference…she is truly a gift, and a blessing, and I am forever grateful.”  Diabetes Assist Dogs are one of the longest waiting lists at Can Do Canines. Would you like to help? Visit http://can-do-canines.org/

Tails from Minnesota Spring 2013 Web Exclusive Artilces  

Can Do Canines Tails from Minnesota Web Exclusive Articles

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