One year after the death of her beloved Diabetic Alert Dog, EAC Waimea, Monique is placed with her new partner and honors her legacy.
How do you first get involved with Early Alert Canines (EAC)
"In 2015/2016, I became involved with EAC for the first time," shares Monique. "I began looking for a Diabetic Alert Dog (DAD) company a few years after meeting a DAD team in Los Angeles. My father's friend told us about DADs because his daughter had recently been paired with a dog and the family had started training and fostering dogs. After contacting a few companies, I came across a DAD team on campus at SJSU, where I was a student. I was referred to EAC by this team, and I applied within a week."
Tell us about EAC Waimea!
"Waimea was unquestionably the best," exclaims Monique! "She was extremely friendly, but her personality was sassy and diva-like. She was an expert "alerter" who would even alert diabetic family members. Waimea would alert every diabetic present even during our two-week training course. She was the sweetest puppy on the planet and could always make you smile. She enjoyed exploring and playing. I could never fully teach her to "fetch" because the various smells on the way to the ball would distract her. My friends and family thought highly of her. Waimea adored all of the children in my large family!"
What impact did EAC Waimea have on your life?
"Waimea made a significant difference in my health and diabetes management. My endocrinologist would tell me how much our friendship inspired him to recommend DADs to so many of his patients. She also had a significant impact on my mental health. Type 1 diabetes is a never-ending battle, and Waimea was always there for me, both physically and mentally," said Monique.
About EAC Waimea's passing:
"Waimea gained a few pounds during the pandemic of 2020. We assumed she was overweight due to the pandemic and worked hard to get active and lose weight. In retrospect, I believe we struggled so much because of her tumor. Waimea was diagnosed with a mast cell tumor in her abdomen in April 2021. We initially assumed she had swallowed pieces of a torn toy, but that was not the case. Because she was still so young, only 7 years old, many vets expressed their hope and certainty that she would beat this. However, there are a limited number of Veterinary Oncologists, and the earliest appointment to develop a plan was much further away than we had hoped. Waimea missed her appointment by 5 days. For about a week, she was happy and back to her old self. Then one day she refused to eat and spent the entire day in bed. Everything was fine, according to the vet, and she was probably just nauseous. We were given medication and told to go home. We were rushed to an ER a few hours later. She wouldn't make it through the night, I was told. Still, in denial, I transferred her to a different hospital in the hopes of having the tumor removed. Waimea's abdomen was filled with cancerous blood after the tumor ruptured. Waimea kissed me one last time before refusing to lift her head when I was finally allowed into the room. At that moment, I knew I could no longer be selfish and prepared to say goodbye. She passed at about 3 am on April 29th, 2021," shares Monique.
What would you like Donors to know?
"As a model and commercial actress, I shared a lot of my experiences and life with Waimea via social media. So many people expressed their love for her and admiration for our bond. I truly did not know how many lives we impacted until I began receiving numerous messages explaining how we inspired others to apply for a DAD. I am not 100% sure of how EAC chooses to pair a DAD team but I do not think there could have been a more perfect match. Waimea and I were truly inseparable and our bond was out of this world. She is missed every day. I will be paired with a successor dog this April. The last day of the training classes is actually April 29th, 2022 (the one-year anniversary of Waimea receiving her angel wings). I like to think she has been assisting in this process and my successor was "paw-picked" by her," says Monique.