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With her Diabetic Alert Dog she takes control of diabetes, Louisa & Puff

Updated: Nov 30, 2021

Puff, a 4-year-old yellow Labrador, is much more than just an ordinary dog. Puff is a highly trained Medical Alert Service Dog. Puff was placed with 11-year VA employee Louisa Mendelsohn, a Recreational Therapist in the geriatrics department at VAGLAHS. Louisa has Type 1 Diabetes and Puff is trained to alert Louisa whenever her blood sugar is out of range. With his keen sense of smell, Puff can detect when sugar levels are too high or too low and then alerts Louisa by placing his paw on her lap (middle photo). Louisa in turn will check her levels and respond as needed. She will then praise and provide positive reinforcement to Puff by giving him a treat for his excellent, lifesaving work. Louisa and Puff are always together and are a common sight in the corridors of building 500. Although Puff has only been with Louisa for a year and a half, their bond is very strong. Puff is a working service dog, ever vigilant and on duty 24 hours a day. Louisa loves and appreciates the work Puff does for her and adds, “We don’t want diabetes to control us, we control it.”

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