How do you find joy in life when you have a diabetic dog? For the past six years, my dog has taken me on a roller-coaster of emotions. Time with Cleo has been one continuous series of life lessons. It's a good thing that I've always loved learning.
One of our more recent challenges is her diabetes. We were shocked to learn of the diagnosis though apparently diabetes is increasing in family pets.
Banfield State of Pet Health reports a 32% increase in diabetes in dogs and 16% increase in cats, comparing 2006 to 2010. [Source]
According to WebMD her diabetes should be tied to obesity, but for Cleo it isn't. She has maintained a healthy level weight since we adopted her over six years ago.
How does this dog do it? Here are a few ways to find the positives from living with a diabetic dog:
Needles. We have to give our dog an insulin shot, twice a day. Looking into her soft eyes, Cleo got us over any squeamishness about needles real fast. Her eyes beg you "Make it fast! Don't make it hurt." Talk about a powerful motivational tool. I get a thrill every time I give her a shot now, and she doesn't notice.
Deeper Empathy. Do you have friends or family with diabetes or something else that requires regular injections? I do. Living with Cleo, my empathy for their situation has quadrupled. Her situation has made me sincerely more appreciative of others and what they are dealing with.
Healthy Life. Rather than feel trapped by insulin injections, and fear of diabetic comas, Cleo got me to learn about holistic medicine and to focus on healthy choices. A great resource for me has been Dr. Pitcairn's New Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs and Cats.
My Furry Therapist. Rather than see her life, as one hard knock after another, Cleo reminds me that life is good. Our life today, even with the diabetes, is great because we're together. Like a well trained service dog, or good therapist, she knows how to guide me toward that silver cloud.
Why should I trust her?
"Dogs never lie about love." ~ Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson