SWC Arizona

Home | Classifieds | Place an Ad | Public Notices | Subscriber Services | 928 Media Lab | Real Estate Search | Galleries | Obits | Yellow Pages | TV Listings | Contact Us
The Prescott Daily Courier | Prescott, Arizona

home : latest news : latest news September 15, 2014


4/15/2012 11:26:00 PM
Boy's best friend
Quake helps Jake keep diabetes at bay
Karen Despain
The Daily Courier

No matter where Jake Seff goes, his faithful canine companion, Quake, is sure to be in tow - on scent alert.

Because Jake is a diabetic, Quake knows to always be at his side in case his scent tells her that his blood sugar level is rising or falling and needs a meter reading.

"Quake goes everywhere I go," Jake said. "She rides the bus, she goes to school, and when I am on my bike, she pouts" from a close-by vantage point. "She sleeps with me. She does everything with me."

Jake, 11, lives in Flagstaff with his mother Joan, father Jeff, and brother Zack, and of course, Quake, a yellow Labrador that has been his diabetic alert dog for the past eight months.

Jake and Quake will be part of the 26th Annual Diabetes Seminar from 8:15 a.m. to noon Saturday at the Adult Center of Prescott, 1280B E. Rosser St., in Prescott.

Doctors diagnosed Jake with diabetes when he was 6 years old. He lost weight, was excessively thirsty and "urinated like crazy," Joan said. Yet, his doctors continued treating him for his childhood asthma, believing that was the culprit and the symptoms were side effects of the prednisone he was taking. That was until Jake drank three big bottles of Gatorade one night. When Jake's doctor heard this, testing for diabetes immediately followed. His blood sugar was in the 600s, Joan said, well above the 80 to 150 range that is considered normal.

Jake was hospitalized on a Friday afternoon and was discharged the next Monday morning.

"When he left the hospital, he was administering his own insulin shots," Joan said, recalling his telling her, "I can do it, Mom." Jake now has an insulin pump to regulate his insulin dosage, which can vary with what he eats and with his activities.

"He's a normal, average kid," Joan said. "He loves school, his teacher, math and his dog."

When Jake saw a boy on television with a diabetic alert dog, he "bugged" his parents to have his own for a year, Joan said. She researched and found out about Scottsdale-based Power Paws Assistance Dogs, which trains golden retrievers and Labrador retrievers in 90 commands to assist adults and children with the spectrum of disabilities. Power Paws began training diabetic alert dogs a year and a half ago, said Meg Flynn, the organization's programs director.

Diabetic alert dogs "can detect 20 or 30 minutes ahead of the meter" a scent that their diabetic companion gives off, indicating low or high blood sugar content.

When Jake' blood sugar level reaches a low point, Quake nudges Jake and bows. When his level reaches a high point, Quake gives him a "high five." If Jake is asleep and doesn't respond, Quake goes and wakes Joan. Quake even knows how to open the refrigerator, get Jake a juice box and take it to him.

The diabetic alert dogs are trained to alert in a multitude of situations - while the diabetic is sleeping, driving or during sports, for example. They know how to get the diabetic's attention or someone else's, when necessary.

"Sometimes, clients won't believe the dog," Flynn said, adding this is common with kids who don't want to stop what they are doing to check their blood sugar levels.

One young boy was playing with his Wii, Flynn said, when the dog alerted. "He kept pushing the dog away until finally the dog grabbed the controller out of his hand as if to say, 'Do you get it now? Will you test?'"

"We want the dogs to be at least 80 percent accurate," which is comparable to the accuracy of meters, Flynn said, so they keep constant track of their alerts and ongoing training with their companions.

"It's a good thing I have diabetes," Jake said. "I can help educate others."

Jake, Quake and Power Paws' Flynn and executive director Robyn Abels will be at the seminar on Saturday, along with speakers on diabetes management, medications, kidney disease and care for children with type 1 diabetes.

Cost of the seminar is $12 for pre-registration and $15 at the door. This includes materials and lunch from Giovanni's. For more information or to register, call 1-888-diabetes, ext. 7085 or email jrobak@diabetes.org.

"Quake has changed my life in such a great way," Jake said. "She's a great companion to have around. She can tell me whether I am high or low."

Being a diabetic hasn't changed Jake much. "I still do everything I would have otherwise. I feel I have helped people who have diabetes who feel they can't do anything because they have diabetes."










    Recently Commented     Most Viewed
Column: FBI should hunt ISIS, not nude photo hacker (4 comments)
Letter: People select, reject facts to support bias (27 comments)
Border housing sore subject for Arizona town (4 comments)
Letter: Flat tire brought out best in passersby (1 comment)
Mother of toddler found wandering neighborhood calls to report son missing more than 12 hours later (6 comments)


Reader Comments

Posted: Tuesday, April 17, 2012
Article comment by: Jewels Doskicz

Jake is an amazing young man, I've always been impressed by his positive, can do attitude. He is a shining example for others by living a healthy happy life with type 1 diabetes.

Posted: Monday, April 16, 2012
Article comment by: The Rev

Dogs: there is not a thing they cannot or will not do for us.

Posted: Monday, April 16, 2012
Article comment by: suzi bell higgins

That is so darn awesome. I love it. Good luck to both of you!

Posted: Monday, April 16, 2012
Article comment by: Eliza Tyler

GREAT STORY!!! Jake couldn't ask for a better service companion than Quake (I know, I too, have a yellow lab for spotting my lows). Keep up the positive outlook on life Jake, it will take you far and acts a teaching method for others!! Rock on Kid!! :)

Posted: Monday, April 16, 2012
Article comment by: Amazing Article

What an inspiring article. I hope all parents whose children would benefit from these live saving dogs have access to them. It would be interesting to learn more about how the dogs are trained. It's good that the medical community is looking into alternative methods to help patients lead healthier lives. Congratulations to Jake and Quake.



Article Comment Submission Form
Comments are not posted immediately. Submissions must adhere to our Use of Service Terms of Use agreement. The email and phone info you provide will not be visible to the public. Rambling or nonsensical comments may not be posted. Comments are limited to 1300 characters or less. In order for us to reasonably manage this feature we may limit your comment entries to five(5) per day.
Submit an Article Comment
First Name:
Required
Last Name:
Required
Telephone:
Required
Email:
Required
Comment:
Required
Passcode:
Required
Anti-SPAM Passcode Click here to see a new mix of characters.
This is an anti-SPAM device. It is not case sensitive.
   


Advanced Search

HSE - We want to hear from you
HSE - Circulation Costco Memebership offer
HSE- Rants&Raves
Find more about Weather in Prescott, AZ
Click for weather forecast






Quick Links
 •  Submit site feedback or questions

 •  Submit your milestone notice

 •  Submit your letter to the editor

 •  Submit a news tip or story idea

 •  Place a classified ad online now

 •  Browse the Yellow Pages

Find It Features Blogs Milestones Extras Submit Other Publications Links
Classifieds | Subscriber Services | Real Estate Search | Galleries | Find Prescott Jobs | e-News | RSS | Site Map | Contact Us
HSE - Cookie Contest

© Copyright 2014 Western News&Info, Inc.® The Daily Courier is the information source for Prescott area communities in Northern Arizona. Original content may not be reprinted or distributed without the written permission of Prescott Newspapers, Inc. Prescott Newspapers Online is a service of Prescott Newspapers Inc. By using the Site, dcourier.com ®, you agree to abide and be bound by the Site's terms of use and Privacy Policy, which prohibit commercial use of any information on the Site. Click here to submit your questions, comments or suggestions. Prescott Newspapers Online is a proud publication of Western News&Info, Inc.® All Rights Reserved.

Software © 1998-2014 1up! Software, All Rights Reserved