Friday, April 15, 2011

Dogs and Cats are so underrated

Emma and I had an interesting conversation the other day that I thought I would share on here. My Mom has two dogs and it was actually one of their birthdays not that long ago. She is the sweetest dog around and Emma just adores her. When I mentioned to Emma about the birthday, we sort of got on the topic of how my dog growing up (who actually passed away many years ago now) had diabetes for the last couple years of his life. Emma is just fascinated by that...I think it must seem so weird to her that this disease not only affects humans, but also the family pet. It sort of fascinates me too...not in the same sense though I suppose. I find myself more so thinking of how that is really my first experience with diabetes. I remember sitting there watching my Mom practice giving injections on an orange. I remember her getting the dog, Barkley, to sit down in front of her so she could grab some skin on his bum and give him his insulin needle for the day. He would yelp and cry for the first few times, and then he seemed to get used to it and just accepted it as part of his daily routine....just like Emma. I'm not trying to compare or belittle my child's diabetes by any means...I just find it interesting how they both went through basically the same process of acceptance. When Emma was diagnosed, she would scream and cry and flail about every time we needed to give her a needle. My husband would have to hold her on his lap in a bear hug while I did the job. It broke my heart to see her look at me with such hate and terror in her eyes. I will never forget that look for the rest of my life. it took her about 3 weeks to admit defeat and just accept the fact that this was now her life...she was now going to get needles every day, multiple finger pokes, the whole deal.
I think a lot of times people just write off animals...they think of them as "just a dog" or "just a cat". To me it is obvious that they are so much more than just that. When we were in the hospital on the day Emma was diagnosed, I told her that I would get her a kitten. I wanted to give her something to distract her from all of the chaos and pain that was going on. I wanted her to get the comfort and love from a pet who would always be around for her. I wanted her to experience a bond with this kitten just like the one I had with Barkley growing up. At the time, I knew the road ahead of us was going to be anything but easy...and I knew that by Emma having someone like our cat, Daisy would make things a little more bearable for her.
Daisy is definitely a crazy cat, but she has gone above and beyond in her role as companion for Emma. She has been there through every screaming painful needle, every low blood sugar, every illness, every stressful event. She has always been there to help ease Emma's pain by cuddling with her, to make her giggle when she runs around playing with her toys,  or even just laying at her feet and watching over her while she sleeps on the living room floor when we camp out during stomach viruses. She has been there to lay next to me purring while I pet her, helping me cope with the stress of keeping my child alive. She is there with me in the middle of the night when i am up checking blood sugars. She has actually even suddenly gotten up from a sound sleep on the couch and went up the stairs and stood at Emma's bedroom door meowing away...going back and forth from me to the door until I went in to check her blood sugar....and found it to be low. She sees me cry silently sometimes late at night when I feel like I just can't take it anymore...and she will curl up on my lap or lick my tear stained cheek.
Animals are amazing and loyal creatures. I am greatful for the ones I have had in my life. I think those that just write off animals as nothing more than simply an animal...are really missing out.


  1. We have two cats and one dog and they add so much joy to our lives. They are definitely not "just animals" to us! :)

  2. Well put. I had a dog growing up and Bean would love to have a dog (me, too) but I've developed this weird allergy that makes it hard to convince Ubergeek. Though, he's coming around slowly. Would love for Bean to have a companion like that and the fact that they seem to pick up on lows it just an added bonus!

  3. Oscar (our Miniature Schnauzer) has added so much joy and love to all of our lives...after we got him, I learned that Miniature Schnauzers have a high incidence of diabetes - UGH....but I wouldn't trade him for another breed ever. He is wonderful. Loved this post.

  4. We got the kids a puppy not long after R was dx, and seriously what a blessing. R and the dog are thick as theives!