Happy Tails: A New Life-Saving Partnership, Denise and Salsa

I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes when I was nine years old. From that day forward, my life as a care free child was shifted towards daily finger pricks and insulin. My parents and I learned the value and necessity of daily shots; the importance of nutrition; sleepless nights; scary low blood sugars; and many challenges that medical professionals did not even know warn us about. 

My parents became extremely overprotective and worried about me 24/7.

Shielding me from certain things in order to prevent any possible issues. It was stressful because I felt detached from all the other kids and knew no one else with this disease.

I never talked about diabetes to people to avoid having to explain it. I didn’t want them to think of me differently or feel bad for me.

Although growing up I had a different childhood than most others, I don’t regret getting diabetes since it made me more aware of my nutrition, health, and body. I had to learn how to take care of myself at a young age and it helped me become independent.

After asking my parents to support me in going to art college in LA, 5 hours away from home, they learned to let go and trust me in taking care of myself. When I graduated, I became a tattoo artist and after tattooing for 3.5 years, I just recently opened my own shop!

I’m proud to say having diabetes has not stopped me from fulfilling my goals, and in fact has probably pushed me to work harder in order to achieve success.

New Life-Saving Partnership

My experience with Dogs4Diabetics (D4D) has been nothing but joyful and gracious. I have met so many caring and helpful diabetics and sincere people who truly care about the wellbeing of others.

They understand the struggles that come with diabetes, whether it’s having to constantly monitor your sugars, giving multiple shots a day, and mostly the uncomfortable symptoms of low/high blood sugars at any given time, all while dealing with life itself.

The volunteers, the trainers, the clients, literally everyone is so genuinely nice and helpful. I feel more at home than I’ve ever felt before.

From the first PAWS meeting, to being accepted in to the program, going through class, waiting for a dog while attending “First Thursdays”, and now getting placed with a dog.

The experience has been surreal and I can’t believe how fortunate I was to receive this opportunity.

Placement with Medical-Alert Service Dog, Salsa

Having Salsa means so much to me. Waiting over a year for a dog was tough… my patience was well worth it because I now feel like Salsa was the Diabetic Alert Dog to create a life saving partnership. 

She pays so much attention to me.

I felt the bond with her instantly when I first laid eyes on her. Knowing she’s by my side at all times gives me assurance in managing my diabetes better.

Especially, while I’m at work tattooing for long hours at a time.

On any given day, there are times where I am so focused on the task at hand that I do not want to take breaks or check my blood sugar. I’ve felt low on numerous occasions. Salsa has been there to make sure I get up and check and eat something.

She also helps with my anxiety in public and gives me confidence knowing she’s there for me. Salsa makes everyone around me smile just by being there and happiness is always a great thing to feel.

She’s an amazing addition to my life and I am so thankful for D4D and all its people. I’m excited to continue this journey forward with not only Salsa but the D4D community!

▶️Follow Salsa on Instagram: @boopedbysalsa
▶️Follow Denise on Instagram: @inkedbydenise