Chapter 4: Keeping Healthy and Happy

  The first 5 years of his diabetes, Whisper did very well. Naturally, like every pet owner, there were minor health concerns like fleas and foxtails, (erg, what nasty little things) repairing a tiny hernia, and even cataracts in his eyes as he got older. We occasionally had minor adjustments of his insulin, and had to take special precautions with different medications. But overall, no major problems. Cortisone based drugs,(like Prednisone and Panalog) were out of the question, since that would affect his glucose. For example, he developed a form of Lupus on his nose, (apparently common in white dogs) so SPF-50 -baby sun block was the best treatment to use on him, instead of the usual drugs. When he started having trouble with Arthritis, we couldn’t try any of the new medications, and had to settle for buffered aspirin. (Buffered, so it wouldn’t give him ulcers.) I even tried holistic treatments like Rhus-tox and Vitamin C, (and a magnetic bed!) but aspirin seemed to help him the most. Thank goodness, Whisp was great at taking pills. I would just tell him to “Say Ah”, he would open his mouth, I’d plop in the pill, and he’d swallow! That precious pooch would let me do anything!

Whisper'N Me

When Whisper was around 12 years old, he started slowing down a bit, and his hind legs were beginning to give him trouble. So, I rearranged the house, covering up the hardwood floors with mats, making it easier for him to get around. He did just fine, but every once and awhile I’d need to help him get up and moving. Dr. Gonsier assured me that he wasn’t in any pain, but suspected there may be a problem with his spine. A simple reflex test, placing Whisper’s foot on his tip toe, showed a slow response. Dr. Gonsier couldn’t be sure, since Whisp was so easy going. (You could have him stand on his head, and Whisper would just think - Oh, that’s what you want me to do? OK!) After many discussions, we decided that surgery on a 12 year old diabetic just wouldn’t be right. The prognosis wasn’t that promising, and it just wouldn’t be fair to put him through that kind of ordeal.

So, I did everything possible to make him comfortable. I even bought him a special harness, (“Walk A Bout”) to put around his hind quarters, to help support him while walking. Whisper did just fine for about another year, only needing occasional help from me. Even though he had slowed down, he was still happy, and I think he enjoyed all the extra attention. Sometimes I think he liked it too much! When he wanted a little extra help, he had this cute little grumble, and Mom (me) would come running. Yep, he had me trained well!

When he was around 13 years old, a sickly dog got too close to him. (Talk about guilt for letting that dog get within 10 feet of my baby.) Well, within 2 days Whisper was in the vet’s office with vomiting and diarrhea. Once again, I heard those words, “It might be his time”, suggesting it was time to put him down. But I knew he wasn’t ready yet. He was sick. We’ve been there before, and he’ll get better again. So, once again, we had lots of pills to take, lots of trips to the doctor’s office,and careful monitoring of his blood sugar levels. Whisper on the stairs

Within a few weeks or so, he was feeling better. But this episode took a big toll on him. His insulin requirement had to be increased from 6 units twice a day, to 10 units twice a day. Of course, with experience you realize that anytime his health got “out of whack”, we’ll have to carefully monitor and adjust his blood sugar. Any sustained change, (like the Lupus flaring up) would require an adjustment. But this time was very different. He eventually got back to his perky self, but after this, the strength in his legs really suffered. He needed a lot more help getting around. He wasn’t eager to go outside for walks, and I even needed to help support him when he stood to eat meals. For the last year of his life, I was Whisper’s rear legs. He depended on me, more and more, to help him get around.


Chapter 1
Little Ball of Fluff
Chapter 2
The Good Life
Chapter 3
A Diabetic Dog?
Chapter 4
Healthy & Happy
Chapter 5
Wait for Me

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