Princess    and    Family

Cassius and Princess
Princess Shuchter awaits "medicine" while freeloader
for goodies Cassius enters the scene

What could be sweeter then a diabetic pet?

Here you see "daddy's girl" Princess (shepherd/husky mix?), sitting nicely 
when medicine is announced. 
Princess was diagnosed in December 1997 at the approximate age of 5 (pound 
puppy so unsure of birthdate).  Her first vet started her on Humulin U and we 
began at 10 units and increased it every 3 days as her readings on the vet's 
machine continued high.
In late January, 1998 she ran out the back door and straight into the fence. 
Yes, we realized she had gone blind, practically overnight.  Her dad, Peter, 
cried when the vet said "there is nothing you can do about it, just get the 
sugar under control and keep upping the insulin."
Meanwhile her adopted pound big brother Bandit (Lab/Spaniel mix) became her 
seeing eye dog, guiding her around the yard and herding her indoors.
In early May there came a day when Bandit's herding and our calling could not 
induce Princess up the back steps, geez she acted drunk.  You got it, 
hypoglycemia.  Because of what I had read for nearly 6 months on Muffin and 
having had a diabetic stepfather, I recognized the symptoms.  Called the vet, 
and he said it was just the heat, she must have her shot.  THAT WAS IT. 
We gave her karo, she perked right up and we began making calls to find a new 
vet. Her first test at the new vet showed a bg level of 40, we could have killed 
her with that shot.  Also, his first commentary coming in the door was, don't 
you want her to see?  She's too young to be blind if her eyes are ok.  He 
worked with us to get her regulated and we made an appointment for cataract 
surgery, after appropriate testing.
Meanwhile, unnoticed, Bandit got thinner.  A week before Princess' surgery, 
he couldn't get up.  We rushed him to the vet he worked valiantly to save him 
from severe pancreatitis.  At home Princess was lost.
The day of Princess's surgery, we had to let Bandit go to the Bridge, but he 
went knowing he could rest now, his sister could see.
Princess came home, Elizabethan collar and all and spent most of her time 
under the table where Bandit would hide from thunder.  So til-now quiet 
Cassius (half feral - rescued from an ice storm) figured it was his job now 
to be big brother and began to box her out of her grief.
I'll never forget the tears of joy that ran down Peter's face the day he 
called her in the yard and she turned and looked at him with true recognition 
again.  His girl could see.
You see, Bandit was Peter's first loss of a pet or even a family member.  So 
for the next 4 months he and Princess cuddled and cooed at every opportunity.
On November 24th, 1998, Peter died suddenly at his desk, one hour after 
responding to an e-mail from me about Shalimar (remember the cocker) who we 
had nearly adopted and had just learned was doing well. 
Princess lost her dad and mourned him.  Each night I'd drag her in from by 
the gate where she would stare at his car, until I finally sold it.  And by 
the way, Peter donated his body to science and his corneas were placed to 
allow two other people to see (.
Now, she's mommy's girl and probably my salvation.  Sure, getting up in the 
morning and practically force feeding her somedays in order to give her 
"medicine" before going to work is a pain.  Even worse on Saturday's when I'd 
like nothing better than to sleep in.  But she's doing great!  And I have a 
reason to get out of bed.  But most nights, she and I now cuddle and coo. 
She welcomes my friends and now gets particularly excited when a male comes 
to visit.  Like having a child, I know any choices I make to share my life 
will have to have Princess and Cassius' stamps of approval first.

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