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Lifesaving Labradors: Stories From Families With Diabetic Alert Dogs Paperback

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 268 pages
  • Publisher: Koehler Books; 1 edition (March 20, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1938467906
  • ISBN-13: 978-1938467905
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 5.9 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #495,325 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Ben McClelland is Professor and Schillig Chair of English at the University of Mississippi, where he has taught courses in literature and writing for twenty-six years. He holds a Ph.D. in American Literature from Indiana University, where he wrote a dissertation on William Faulkner’s fiction.  He also completed post-doctoral study at the University of Pittsburgh in composition and at Carnegie Mellon University in rhetoric.  
He developed professional credentials in the area of nonfiction and life narrative writing by conducting research into the history, theory, and current place of nonfiction prose in English studies. In addition to articles and editions, he has written two professional books and a nonfiction memoir, Soldier’s Son, which was published by the University Press of Mississippi in March 2004, as a Willie Morris Book in Memoir and Biography. Since 2004 he has offered undergraduate and graduate courses in nonfiction writing.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.


Historically man has benefitted from the companionship of the first domesticated animal, the dog, which first teamed with man as scavengers and hunters ultimately to evolve into separate breeds and crosses with diverse capabilities. “Man’s best friend” so accurately describes these beloved canine companions with the amazing ability to serve a range of roles from hunter to assistant, relying on compatibility, intelligence, instinct, and of course, a keen sense of smell. I am confident that the field of canine training and behavioral study has only just begun to tap the vast competencies of dogs.
One such exemplar is the Diabetic Alert Dog (DAD). We refer to the Wildrose DAD as the “Master of Scent.” Training a Wildrose British Labrador as an alert dog certainly qualifies at some level as amazing and even a bit mysterious. How are these animals so accurate that they can actually predict a swing in a diabetic’s blood sugar well before all other indicators?  Obvious to us is scenting—“the nose knows!” But are there other more subtle body changes the perceptive dog may identify? Therein lies the mystery.
Wildrose specializes in the British Labradors highly valued for their temperament, moderate size, and natural game-finding abilities. As scent discriminators, they are masters. The selective lineage of these fine dogs has purposefully been developed for over 150 years as game-finders, so their scenting abilities are quite keen and highly refined, perfect candidates for scent discriminators. Thanks to the hard work of the many DAD trainers and volunteers, who intensively train the dogs for service work, these exceptional Labradors are changing the lives of people with Type 1. Moreover, as the stories in this collection demonstrate, DAD team families are dedicated to working with canine service companions to help manage the health care of their diabetics.
I have enjoyed a lifetime of training dogs for companionship, game location, and recovery, as well as outside adventurers, but the DAD training experience has been a most rewarding, yet challenging journey. It is one thing to train a dog to bring back a game bird that would have otherwise been lost. It’s quite another to participate in developing a canine that possesses the ability to save a life—at the very least, enhance a person’s ability to become more independent and enjoy the confidence to lead a normal life. That is the mission of the Wildrose DAD.
Join the journey as you explore the challenges, mysteries, and wonders that unfold in these dramatic stories of Labrador service dogs—trained the Wildrose Way—and their diabetic partners whose lives these unbelievable animals have blessed.

Mike Stewart
Wildrose Kennels

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Allison on March 11, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The book covers a couple of different areas that make it worth the read. First, the dogs. It is lovely to see these amazing Wildrose Dogs featured in this way. I have had direct and extended encounters with one of their Diabetic Alert Dogs and will tell you frankly that you have never seen something as impressive and thought provoking as one of these dogs in action doing what they were trained to do. I cannot say that a Diabetic Alert Dog/Service Dog is the right choice for everyone. It needs to be a good fit for the dog and for the Diabetic person that handles them. They are a big commitment, if you do not feel that you will continue to hone and maintain the dog’s training you should probably not consider it. The maintenance of that training is necessary to keep their skills on point for their Diabetic person’s benefit. But secondly, these are working dogs that were born with traits that make them highly driven. If you do not actively direct that energy the dog will find its own ways to do so and that can turn out in ways that won’t make anyone happy. Also the general public usually only have a vague understanding of Service Dogs and how to handle their presence. This is something to think about. If you have a Service Dog you will find yourself having to talk about not only the dog but about yourself quite a bit. Sometimes it will happen in the midst of being confronted about being where you are with your dog but sometimes it will happen at times when the last thing you want to do is answer another question about yourself or the dog. It goes with the territory, so keep it in mind.

With all of that said these dogs absolutely save lives. When utilized as intended it becomes an exceptional relationship for both owner and animal.
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By Pack of Six on March 31, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Beautifully written! An amazing and often heartbreaking look at the world of Diabetics and the dogs that keep them alive! Well done!
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By scholar on March 30, 2014
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A testament to the remarkable symbiotic relationship between humans and dogs. A must read for everyone who appreciates the role of other than human contributors. Great read!
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