Sunday, August 10, 2014

Out and About

As part of Cutch's training, he comes with us most places. Below are some pictures of Cutch out and about in Hagerstown. 
On the playground equipment at Will's elementary school



Will and Cutch in the back of our car after a long walk.  Will needed a pump change, his blood sugar was abnormally high that morning.  We try to have Cutch sit with Will with every blood sugar check and pump changes.  Cutch is gettig better and better at "stay."

Best friends :)

Our first trip with Cutch to restaurant.  He did FANTASTIC and even slept as you can see below.  Ignoring food is not easy, but he is getting better everyday at the "leave it" command...Cutch rocks!

It is tough being a puppy in training!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Not so Little Anymore!

SUPER CUTCH


Picture taken in June.  He is just growing so quick!

On our way back from a trip Wheeling, WV, Cutch is laying in his favorite position, on his back.  Cutch is tipping the scales at 40 lbs these days, so the foot well below the kids car seats is getting a little tight.  From not on, he'll ride just behind the kids.

Cutch in his new vest, getting ready to go to the mall. When his vest goes on, he gets the command "work."  He does a nice job in public and is starting to understand that we are not out to socialize (trust me, he gets plenty of love and attention at home).

Just chillin' in the yard after our trip to the mall, it's difficult to be a puppy :)

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

I Almost Forgot

I was crazy to think I would have more time to write blog posts during the summer, after all we do have an 8 week summer break, but having 3 children and two dogs does take away some free time. An update on what we (and Super Cutch) have been doing this summer.

We took our first vacation as a family of 5 (technically 6 with Cutch) to Myrtle Beach. Honestly, Jeff and I were a little nervous...3 small children, 1 puppy, a large ocean, tons of people and lots of sand...what could go wrong?

Turns out, it was probably the best vacation we've ever had. We were fortunate enough to have an awesome place to stay (fit our family perfectly) and wonderful weather. 

Every evening after dinner we made it a priority to take Cutch to the beach.  However, it was one of those evenings in particular that made me say, "Thank you God!"

The sunset was beautiful and for the first time in seemingly months, we could finally take some time to relax. It was that evening, for about an hour, I totally forgot about Will's diabetes. As exhilarating as that sounds, it is also extremely scary. Diabetes does not take breaks or vacations (Oh how we wish).  The last time I had that carefree feeling was 2 years ago. I loved watching our children explore and not have any worries or concerns. I especially loved watching Will, because at that time he was happy and carefree...just a regular 5 year old.

It took me back about two years ago when we didn't have to always carry a backpack with us containing extra snacks, smarties, extra insulin, extra pumps, syringes and emergency glucogon. Looking back, we have certainly come a long way. I can remember when Will was first diagnosed. Wondering if we were ever going to be able to go anywhere again. Nonetheless, once we accepted that this was now our life, we adapted and moved on. We refused to let Type 1 Diabetes hold us back from all this wonderful world has to offer.

Our Myrtle Beach vacation was a validation of those thoughts.

Will, Savannah, and Ellie enjoying the beach

Will lost his 1st tooth at the beach, literally, we never found it.

Savannah enjoying Broadway at the Beach

Ellie hamming it up

Super Cutch himself in the condo (he now weighs 40 lbs.)

Monday, June 2, 2014

What in the world is the name 'Cutch'??

by "Pretend Writer": Jeff Hartman

Since we've had the pleasure of welcoming such a stunning young puppy into our home, while we reside in Maryland people are constantly asking us, "What is his name? Clutch? Oh, Cutch. What does THAT mean?"

I preface that we live in Maryland on purpose. I am not from these parts, but from the small little village of Wheeling, WV. For those geographically challenged, Wheeling is located in the Northern panhandle (the part of WV that is pinched between Pennsylvania and Ohio) and is around 45 min to an hour south west of Pittsburgh, PA.

Since West Virginia has no professional sports teams, you can imagine that I was born to be a Pittsburgh fan. Following in my father's footsteps, I have worn the black and gold proudly for as long as I can remember, and even more so now that I live in Ravens and Capitals country. Don't worry, this will all make sense in terms of where the name comes from.

With my love for Pittsburgh sports so prominent within me, about 3 years ago I started my own blog, which turned into writing for a Pittsburgh message board, which turned into getting my first paid (if you call what I got actually getting paid) writing position with RantSports.com, to now covering the Steelers for the largest fan-lead Steelers site on the world wide web (http://behindthesteelcurtain.com - check it out if you are a Steelers fan).

Throughout my "pretend writing" journey, I started a twitter account and have amassed a very loyal group of followers. When Nicole and I found out that we were going to be getting a diabetic alert dog, we immediately started tossing around possible names, all geared around Pittsburgh sports icons. Names that were thought of: Franco, Troy, Sid, Geno, Ben (well that was just me, Nicole wouldn't let that even be put into the hat) and many other names.

As the night progressed she jokingly said, "Why don't you ask your stupid followers on Twitter? See what they think?" So I did, and to her surprise within minutes my phone was buzzing like crazy with people offering their names. Names like: Lou (for Polamalu), Tunch, Myron and even Joey amongst others.

We looked at the list and decided to narrow it down to three names and let Will choose. Quick sidebar: we had asked will all along what he wanted to name the dog and he would say "Silly". Since we weren't going to have this dog name be "Silly", we began this search. The final names were: Cutch, Beau, and Sid.

It didn't take long for Will to make his decision. Cutch. After all, he has heard me say that name enough times for it to ring a bell. "Cutch (k-u-ch)" is the nickname for the Pittsburgh Pirates' All-Star centerfielder, Andrew McCutchen (pictured above). McCutchen was the NL MVP last year, has made numerous all-star teams, won a gold glove and two silver slugger awards. Nonetheless, in Maryland only a handful of people know who the man is.

So there you have it, the story on how our dog got his name. Through natural selection, Will eventually picked "Cutch". It took some time for it to grow on us, but like the dog himself...if you meet him it just fits.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Super Cutch

The past few weeks have been eventful, to say the least!  Life with three little ones and a puppy leads to little down time.  Cutch has been doing very well and is a quick learner.  He can now sit on command, is starting to pee on command (about 60% of the time),  is in the process of learning the command "down" and is walking better on a leash. 

As part of the service dog training, we have to expose Cutch to as many new places and people as possible. We have been to PetSmart, the grocery store, and a very busy park. As you can imagine, when with Cutch, there is no shortage of meeting new people, especially children.  Cutch handles himself really well and is always given the command of "sit" and must be calm before we allow people to pet him. 




Cutch, the Cutchman, Super Cutch, McCutchen
 

After our visit to PetSmart

After our visit to the grocery store...his preferred sleeping position (this dog cracks us up!)

Will and Cutch at the park

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Signs of Type 1

Saturday September 15, 2012, a day we remember like it was yesterday. It was the day Will was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. The week of September 10 was a week of little sleep and a lot of worry.  Will was very restless at night and waking up multiple times asking for water.  However, he wasn't just taking a sip and going back to bed, he was chugging cups of water through out the night and then wetting the bed (something he hadn't done in a long time).

Naturally, this was concerning to us, since we were aware of the signs of Type 1.  On Friday September 15, Will's urine was checked for glucose and ketones, both came back positive.  On Saturday September 16, we were ordered to take Will in to the medical lab for stat blood work, only to come back that Will's blood sugar was over 700 ml/dl (normal is 70-120 give or take). 

So, off to the University of Maryland Medical Center we went for a lovely three day stay.  In those three days Jeff and I were given a crash course on how to care for Will.  We were taught the importance of counting carbohydrates, checking blood sugar at least ten times per day, knowing the difference between hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia and most importantly learning how to calculate the correct amount of insulin to keep Will alive.

Fortunately, we knew the signs of Type 1 Diabetes so Will never went into DKA (Diabetic Ketoacidosis), which could eventually lead to a coma or worse, death.  Please take a look below at the signs of Type 1, it can get ugly really quick and is often mistaken for the flu, a stomach bug or other sickness, hot weather, and growth spurts.

Signs of Type 1
  • Extreme thirst
  • Frequent urination
  • Fruity odor on breath
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Sudden weight loss
  • Drowsiness, lethargy
  • Increased appetite
  • Heavy, labored breathing
  • Sudden vision changes
  • Stupor unconsciousness




In my mind, it was the least I could do for Will...a cure is needed!
 

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Meet the Hartman's

Let me start by saying, "Thank you" for the overwhelming support that has been given to our family since getting Cutch.

The last few days have been quite the adventure.  Cutch is certainly a puppy, but very well tempered.  He loves to play with our children, exploring the backyard and playing with Will's soccer ball.

Will has been doing a fantastic job of feeding Cutch and making sure he is not chewing on anything he shouldn't be chewing on, like our walls.  We have been working on the basics, like house training, sitting, and he is even learning to go up our stairs.  He really is a fun and smart little puppy!


We thought we would take some time to introduce The Hartman's, it is always nice to be able to put a name with a face. 


Will the Thrill
(Diagnosed with Type 1 in September of  2012)

Cutch with Will's soccer ball
 

Savannah
(Our free spirit)

Ellie
(A happy baby)

Marley
(Tolerating Cutch very well)

Nicole, the mom
Jeff, the dad
(It took some time to convince Jeff that Will should some day have a D.A.D.  Until Will had a really scary low in the middle of the night.  We are really happy that we have Cutch in our lives).