Honeys Garden is a nonprofit company (2016/387235/08) whose mission is to place quality service dogs with people within South Africa who are under privileged, fighting with disabilities or diseases, and veterans who have lost use of limbs or hearing. We also help with animal rescue, and educate the public regarding use of service dogs in public places. We enrich the lives of children and adults with disabilities and diseases by matching them with quality task trained service dogs. As the first company to train Medical Service Dogs within South Africa, our training is innovative and always fun and positive!
All of our service dogs and emotional support dogs undergo stringent testing, including the KUSA Canine Good Citizen Award to Gold standard.
A Diabetic Assist Dog (DAD) would give Deena-Rae and her family the peace of mind that someone was keeping an eye on her sugars when mom and dad aren’t around. A DAD would mean greater independence for her, an essential part of any adolescent’s development into a functional adult. Despite the diabetes related benefits, the emotional support would be incredible.
Here is a letter from Deena-Raes mother.
Dear Potential Sponsor,
I figured the best motivation I could give would be for you to “meet” us and gain some insight into our
lives. We are the Colloty family. Dad (Grant), Mom (Sandy), Deena-Rae (our 12-year-old Type 1
Superhero) and Nathan (our Superhero’s 9-year-old sidekick and greatest supporter). When your child is
diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes it turns your entire world upside down, nothing is ever the same. It
sounds so cliched, but it literally affects every aspect of your life. Our lives changed on May 3 rd 2017.
Deena-Rae had recently had chicken pox but she just didn’t seem to be recovering, she was losing
weight, waking numerous times a night to go to the toilet, constantly tired, thirsty and very emotional. I
felt a bit silly taking her to our family doctor, I was ready to be told that it was pre-teen hormones and I
was over-reacting. I was not prepared for her blood glucose levels to be unreadable on a standard
glucometer. I was not prepared for the fear I saw on our GP’s face and I was definitely not prepared for
multiple finger pricks, injections, carb counting and constant monitoring every day to keep my child
alive. Before that day I had no idea exactly what Type 1 Diabetes was and everything it entails. One
individual may be diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes, but an entire family lives it every day. Each member
of our family has been dramatically impacted by Deena’s diagnosis, but none more than Deena herself.
This is Deena-Rae, she’s an incredible, independent, hardworking, highly motivated, determined young
lady. She’s also a Type 1 Diabetic. She is fiercely determined to prove to the world that there is nothing a
Type 1 cannot do. From day one she was determined to do everything herself, she does all of her own
injections and finger pricking, she counts carbs and calculates insulin dosages, she has truly embraced
her condition and taken “ownership” of her diabetes. Unfortunately, diabetes is unpredictable and
every day brings new challenges.
Despite huge changes in diet and our best efforts to maintain stable blood glucose levels, Deena’s
biggest obstacle is a hypo (blood glucose levels dropping to under 4mmol) during the night or after
exercise. Deena is very active, she’s an avid equestrian, riding on average 4 times a week, she’s the first
girl ever to be invested in the 1 st Randhart Scout troop, she hiked just under 20kms over 2 days with her
all male Scout troop earlier this year. Deena also loves to draw and paint, she love’s animals and working
with them, she trains and schools horses and is driven by a passion to help all and anyone in need. But
all of this is regularly disrupted by blood glucose checks and adjustments. If she doesn’t catch these
hypos early enough it leads to shaking, sweating, dizziness, headache and, as Deena would put it, just
feeling yuck. Not an easy task to deal with, especially not when you’re 12 and just wanting to get on
with life and living it to the full.
Deena does a pretty good job of holding it all in, keeping things together and being brave, but
underneath it all is a 12-year-old girl living life to the fullest while dealing with a life-threatening chronic
condition. She’s making life or death decisions multiple times a day, every single day. For her staying
alive is a full-time job all on it’s own. She battles to fall asleep for fear of not waking up or waking up
sweating and shaking from a hypo. Deena and I have had very few uninterrupted nights of sleep since
her diagnosis. The constant anxiety is exhausting. Her dad accompanies her on every Scout camp, we
hang around at pony camps until the early hours of the morning to ensure her blood glucose levels are
stable and sleep overs at friends are just too stressful, not only for us as parents, but for her friend’s
Deena longs to participate in all of these activities without mom or dad constantly hanging around. She
dreams of sleepovers with friends, going on camps by herself, becoming a Springbok Scout, excelling as
a competitive equestrian and attending university to become a veterinarian or a veterinary
physiotherapist. As her mom, I long to see her achieve these goals, but at the same time I dread the
thought of her dealing with everything that she needs to deal with, without backup or support of some
kind. A Diabetic Assist Dog (DAD) would give all of us the peace of mind that someone was keeping an
eye on her sugars when mom and dad aren’t around. A DAD would mean greater independence for her,
an essential part of any adolescent’s development into a functional adult. Despite the diabetes related
benefits, the emotional support would be incredible.
In addition to the physical challenge’s diabetics face, there is also a lot of ignorance and a negative
stigma attached to the term diabetes and it takes real grit to face that day after day and try to educate
those around you. The added support of a DAD would make these emotional challenges easier to
Managing Deena’s hypos right now is still do-able, it’s not ideal but we make it work. She misses out on
regular kid things, but she keeps her chin up and carries on. Our primary concern is really for Deena in
the future. The Deena that longs to be self-reliant, that wants to give back to society, that looks for any
opportunity to make things better, that refuses to be placed in a box and is game for anything. The
Deena who doesn’t see any limitations and should never see them. Having a DAD would ease the
constant anxiety and allow her to explore the endless possibilities and soar. You would be giving my
Lastly, thank you. Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to write to you, but most of all thank you
for taking Diabetes seriously and recognising the need for support. Type 1 Diabetes demands so much
work behind the scenes, where no one notices. It’s often an “invisible” illness and it’s so encouraging to
have support, so thank you.