Local student raising funds for Diabetic Alert Dog

A local student is looking for community support in order to raise funds to buy a Diabetic Alert Dog.

Elena Barrera is a teenager currently attending Green River High School. She was diagnosed with Type One Diabetes about four years ago.

"I have always had the thought of having a service dog and I'm going to college next year and have decided to take the step," Barrera explained.

Barrera will use a Wyoming breeder named Duty Dogs, located in Cody, for her dog. They have been breeding diabetic alert dogs for a while and have a song with Type One Diabetes.

"They just had a set of puppies born on Christmas Day and will be working on training them very soon," Barrera explained. "Once they train the dogs and get to know their abilities I will be assigned a dog."

The dog will be selected following a temperament test administered when the puppies are seven weeks old in February. The puppy will then begin training with Duty Dogs for about 18 to 24 months. The delivery time frame is flexible since Duty Dogs will determine when the dog is ready for placement based on its ability to recognize and alert to low blood sugar.

The dog will be placed temporarily with Barrera for a week during the spring or summer of 2024 before final placement in the fall or winter of 2024. This will allow Barrera to experience life with a service dog and give feedback to Duty Dogs for final training. Barrera will also be able to travel to Cody to visit the dog while it is going through training.

"With the service dog, it will make going to college much easier for me as I will feel more comfortable during nighttime highs and lows," Barrera said.

Barrera is deaf and has cochlear implants that she removes at night, so she cannot hear blood sugar alarms if they go off. The dog will be able to alert her when her blood sugar is out of range.

"The dog will be able to alert me all day but during the night will be the most important time," Barrera said.

Barrera will have to make payments for the dog. The cost of the dog is $3,000 and the cost of training is $1,600 a month for 15 months, adding up to a total of $30,000 for the dog and the training.

Barrera is looking for businesses and companies that are willing to help with fundraising and donations.

Several local businesses have already been doing what they can to help Barrera get her dog. Red White Buffalo will be doing a fundraising event this Saturday, Feb. 4, and Stellar Coffee will be donating 10% of their sales and all tips received next Tuesday, Feb. 7.

Those interested in helping out can contact Barrera at elenalillianmay@gmail.com.


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