Girl Finds Strength in Fostering Diabetic Dog

The unconditional love of a dog can be an amazing source of strength and resilience for its owner. Eight-year-old Madalaine Hembraugh and her foster dog, Petey, are living proof of that. They both have type 1 diabetes, and they have formed a bond that is helping to heal them both.

Petey, a year-old terrier mix, came to the Humane Society of Southern Arizona as a stray. He was very skinny and barely alive, with diabetes and a severely injured back leg that had to be removed. After months of treatment at the humane society’s clinic, Petey went home to be fostered by Madalaine and her mother, Dr. Karter Neal, a veterinarian and the medical director of the society.

Dr. Neal tests Petey’s blood sugar twice a day before he eats, using an Abbott Meter made specifically for dogs and cats. Petey’s blood sugar ranges from 160 to 300, with an average of 200, which is considered a good level for a dog. When he needs insulin, Dr. Neal determines the appropriate dose of Levemir. Petey’s doses have increased gradually because he is slowly gaining weight.

When Madalaine was diagnosed with type 1 five years ago, she was the only one in her school with diabetes. Today, six children in her school have it. Madalaine uses an insulin pump and is on Humalog insulin. “It’s nice to have someone else who has diabetes living here,” she says. “Madalaine is teaching Petey that you can live a normal life with diabetes,” adds Dr. Neal. “It’s amazing to see how they have responded to each other.”


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