Chew toys and live alerts.
After Bear alerted my friend and I thought he was just being a pain in the butt, but later found out she was prone to low blood sugar, I have been much more attentive to possible low alerting on people with fully functioning pancreas. It’s happened twice so far. I got home from the gym and was getting lunch together for myself. (I go to the gym in the middle of the day now, with my open schedule.) Bear is excited to get out of his crate and also to greet people, so he was walking around my legs, wagging his whole body, pushing into my knees and what not when he started pawing me. I first thought that it was part of his excitement of meeting and getting out of his crate, but then I went ahead and grabbed a glucose meter and checked. One of the advantages of having T1D people living in the house is we have tons of medical supplies, including glucose meters.
Turns out I was 80, which technically is “in range” for those that don’t have a functioning pancreas, but for me it was low. I gave Bear a bunch of treats and celebrated the live alert.
Yesterday Heather got back from the gym and some errands. Bear was doing his full body wag, pushing up against the new arrivals, celebrating getting out of his crate and greeting people when he pawed Heather. I threw her a spare glucose meter and she was 86. With a functioning pancreas, the 86 is low, so we handed out some freeze-dried bison lung, a high-value treat for Bear.
After spending over $200 replacing bike helmets (3) and footwear (2), I went out and spent $60 of chew toys. Shopping for chew toys is like shopping for mechanical pencils. They are all do the same basic thing, but they have a plethora of different colors and shapes and gizmos and gadgets. Back in high school I learned that I freeze under too many choices and being an early adopter of mechanical pencils, I would lose track of time in the pencil aisle at the art store, trying out all the different styles. Having a choice is good, I know, but I learned early on that having too many choices put me in a state of decision-paralysis. And this is why I love going to Costco to shop. They put two products to choose from; there is the Kirkland brand and the name brand. I can handle that decision, but put 43 different chew toys in front of me and I freeze.
I was able to leave the pet store with three new chew toys in under 30 minutes. Now Bear’s toy basket includes three rope squeaky toys (Costco), two femur bones, a Jax style toy that you can put meat rings on, a plastic bone that you can put meat rings on (pictured above), two squeaky stuffed animals (Costco, lost one of them), a hot dog squeaky toy, a specialized chew toy that came from some lab ($28), another specialized chew toy from some lab, and one to three tennis balls. Regardless of the growing inventory of chew toys, Bear chewed two bike helmets, one head lamp, and three hangers in a two-day period. At this point I am just thankful that there wasn’t a pair of Marc Jacobs boots or purse in that mix, which start at $100.
Not that I’ll ever be doing this again, but if I were to do it again, and if anyone ever asks for advice, I would by a lot of chew toys. And people told me to do this (comments right here, even). It is one of those incidental costs that some people like me have a hard time springing for. In the toy aisle fourteen different chew toys, twelve rope toys, seven expensive toys, five types of Frisbees, and eight different tennis balls confront me. Without the five hours needed to sort through the choices and come to a decision, I tell myself that Bear doesn’t need the toys, that the stuffed pig from Costco with one ear missing just needs to get rescued from the backyard. And besides there is nothing that really jumps out at me. Too many factors to choose from: size, type, color, cost, squeaky.
Hindsight is 20/20, and looking back I’d buy one new toy a week to introduce and cycle through the toy lineup.
Training continues. I am reintroducing some tasks that we should have down now. One being the “grab the bringsel (or dongle).” This will eventually be paired with a low-scent, but for now Bear needs to grab it and hold on to it. Eventually he will bring it to the person with a low-scent, signaling that he smells a low-scent.
There are times I enjoy doing the training, but for the most part it is not something I look forward to doing. It is becoming similar to drawing and giving insulin shots for Maggie and Declan. The same low-level dread feeling accompanies both. And I know how horrible it would be without insulin. It still is a bummer to administer four to six shots every day. It is a chore. With Bear training, though, nothing catastrophic will occur by skipping or decreasing the frequency.
And so I look forward to the group lessons we’ve signed up for. They start in two weeks. I need some guidance, somebody to judge how things are going. I need the teacher to be impressed with something we’ve been working on.