Dr. Steven Wolf, a family physician in Santa Rosa, is bringing his dog to a program on Thursday, which is World Diabetes Day.
That's because Wolf is an insulin-dependent diabetic whose life depends on maintaining a safe blood sugar level and Kermit, his 4-year-old yellow Labrador, is trained to warn him when it falls too low.
“He's trained to my scent,” Wolf said, noting that Kermit can detect a 10 percent drop in his blood sugar level “before I'm even aware of it.”
Kermit goes everywhere with his master, even into examination rooms. “Patients love him,” Wolf said.
Wolf said he was diagnosed with diabetes 24 years ago when he was in college and had lost 30 pounds.
Until he got Kermit in March 2012, Wolf had to rely on a glucose meter and pricking his skin for a drop of blood to monitor his blood sugar level.
Wolf said he still uses the meter, but Kermit is quicker at detecting a drop in blood sugar, requiring him to ingest something sweet.
Wolf will be part of an diabetes information program sponsored by Sutter Pacific Medical Foundation, Novo Nordisk and Medtronic from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday at the Wells Fargo Center for the Arts Carsten Cabaret.
Other panelists will include Dr. Pooja Sherchan, an endocrinologist specializing in diabetes and metabolism; Joyce Giammattei and Dana Kettmann, dieticians; and Sarah Sanabria, a nurse.
Jay Hewitt, who became an Ironman triathlete after he was diagnosed with diabetes at age 24, will speak at 12:30 p.m. Thursday at Medtronic, 3850 Brickway Blvd.
A motivational speaker and an attorney, Hewitt will also join Sanabria in a program on the role of exercise, fitness and food in a diabetic's life from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the Wells Fargo Center.
Free blood sugar and blood pressure screenings will be offered from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. Thursday at Sutter North Bay Health Plaza, 3883 Airway Drive.
All events are free, but attendees must register online at www.suttersantarosa.org/events and bring a printed confirmation.
You can reach Staff Writer Guy Kovner at 521-5457 or firstname.lastname@example.org.