Scentinal's nose

Scentinal's nose

David Sparks Ph.D.
David Sparks Ph.D.
Hayven Chase, is an exceptional Idaho high school senior from the north Idaho town of Athol. Hayven is up against a challenge. She was diagnosed at eight years old with Type 1 diabetes and when she is fast asleep, she experiences low and high blood sugars. Her service dog Scentinel has been trained to alert her when necessary by smelling these blood sugar swings in her breath stream. So profound is the impact on Hayven’s life…she’s developed a passion. Hayven’s father Reed: “Her passion is that every diabetic should be able to train their own alert dog, and be able to find the right puppy and train their dog to have them because she’s a true believer that every type 1 diabetic should have one,” said Reed.

“The trainer did some work with them, at 3 days old they were introduced to different scents to get them using their nose,” said Hayven. “Of course, their eyes weren’t open yet and they weren’t moving around much but having those scents in their pen taught them how to use their nose and develop neural pathways to help them better their sense  of smell.

And she sent us videos on how to train the dog and we did evaluations with her to see if there were any gaps in our training anything that we needed to work on.”

Scentinel was trained by learning to detect the difference between low, normal and high blood sugar levels through breath and saliva samples from Hayven in little tins with holes in them. He gets a reward or “treat” when alerting to a low or high level, and sits and paws her to let her know.

By six months old he was actually going to school with me full time, and there were still some things that we were working on but he was considered a fully trained service dog at six months old,” said Hayven.

“He is a Golden Labradoodle, so his mom is a Golden Doodle and his dad is a full blooded Labrador. And the Reason why Lily Grace did that was the golden doodle is a loving, very well-mannered family-oriented dog and the Lab gives the drive to alert, to have a job,” said Reed.

“One thing that I actually have been training him to do is he can retrieve a juice box for me because sometimes when my blood sugar is really low I’m very weak and I don’t feel like I can get up and go get something to treat my blood sugar, so he’s been trained to that, and he also is being trained to alert me while I’m on my horse, so that a couple different thing that we’re working on him with because there’s so many different things that he’ll be able to do that’ll help me even further than what he already does,” said Hayven.

Scentinel even has his own Facebook page called Standing Watch with Scentinel the Diabetic Alert Dog.

“You know there’s just so many people that helped us with this journey we wanted to let them see his progress,” said Roxxane.

“It was amazing to watch how she inspired other people with hidden diseases and with diabetes to say hey, this isn’t going to stop me. I can do something too and I can be this person or I can be a roceo queen or I can be a barrel racer or whatever you want to do, you’re able to do it. Who’s going to stop me. So it’s been really fun as a father to watch that happen,” said Reed.

“It’s actually really great to have him because I know I have someone there with me. My parents can’t always be with me for the rest of my life and so having a dog here that can help me and does alert me is really great.,” said Hayven.

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