Gilroy, CA, September 29, 2018 – Tanner, a 13-year-old boy in Gilroy, California, received a very special delivery today of his very own Diabetic Alert Service Dog from Service Dogs by Warren Retrievers. Based in Madison, Virginia, Service Dogs by Warren Retrievers, or “SDWR,” has a mission to provide specially-bred and trained dogs for people of all ages that struggle with living with invisible disabilities such as Autism, PTSD, Seizure Disorders, or in the case of Tanner – Diabetes. SDWR has several hundred service dogs working around the globe and is currently serving approximately 1,000 families.
Kelsey, a white labrador retriever Diabetic Alert Dog, has already received countless hours of training through SDWR’s service dog raiser program where volunteers raise service dogs in training for approximately one year. The dogs and raisers must follow through the foundation and skill set training provided through SDWR trainers at the facility in Virginia.
Kelsey is also an honored graduate of the SDWR Fallen Officer Puppy Program. The Fallen Officer Puppy Program, also known as “FOPP,” is an initiative by SDWR to pay respect to the legacy of service by fallen American police who sacrificed their lives in the line of duty. Kelsey is named in honor of fallen hero Police Officer Antonio Martinez Kelsey of Pearland Police Department in Texas who was shot and killed while attempting to arrest a man for drug possession in 1980. Kelsey’s work as a Diabetic Alert Service Dog with Tanner will carry on in memoriam of Officer Kelsey’s life of service before self.
Tanner was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes when he was 3 years old. Over the past decade, he has been hospitalized six times with DKA, also known as Diabetic Ketoacidosis. “When Tanner is low or high it affects his entire way of life and ours. When his numbers are not inline everything in our house stops to take care of him,” says Tanner’s mother, Erin. Tanner’s family is hopeful that with the addition of a service dog it will help make their lives a little easier with monitoring his activity and blood sugars since Tanner is very active. A service dog will also be able to provide him with a sense of independence and security. Tanner hopes that a service dog will help him better manage his blood sugar and be his companion for life.
SDWR uses a proprietary scent training method to teach Diabetic Alert Dogs to detect fluctuations in blood sugar that fall outside of a handler’s healthy range. Since Kelsey is a service dog and covered under laws in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), he will be able to accompany Tanner and his family everywhere – from school, to football games, even to the beach.
During the upcoming 18 months, SDWR will return to Tanner’s home every 3-4 months to continue working on Kelsey’s customized training, follow up training and training the human to make a successful team and public access certification. This certification can only be given to Tanner after a progression of hard work and dedication to the SDWR training program. This training program is what sets SDWR apart from other nonprofit service dog organizations.
Service Dogs by Warren Retrievers is a nonprofit organization based in Madison, Virginia, and relies on donations to help the organization in its mission, “Until there’s a cure…there’s a dog.” To make a donation or learn more about SDWR, please visit the website, www.sdwr.org.
To learn more about Diabetic Alert Service Dogs visit www.sdwr.org/service-dogs/diabetic-alert.
To learn more about SDWR’s Fallen Officer Puppy Program visit www.sdwr.org/fallen-officer-puppy-program/.