Friday, February 14, 2014

Vino for Valentine's

Vino came home on Valentine’s Day 7 years ago. He was one of the smallest puppies in his litter, but also one of the cutest with lots of spunk. Vino is my grandparent’s dog, the first of three schnauzers that are now a part of our family. If you have never crossed paths with a schnauzer, I hope you do. I am an indiscriminate dog lover, but I must admit schnauzers have a little extra something to love. It might be their amazing beard, bushy eye brows or great personalities; they are truly awesome dogs. Vino is no exception.

Earlier this month Vino gave us a bit of a scare. In the matter of one week he lost 5 pounds, was listless, had no appetite and didn’t want to play. All very unlike him. While we waited for his blood test results over a weekend he started drinking a lot of water and was having to relieve himself more frequently than normal. By Monday we were desperate for an answer and hoping that whatever was wrong was treatable.

Vino was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. Because his body isn't producing enough insulin, he had to stay in the hospital where he was hooked up to an IV and had his glucose levels monitored every 4 hours until they were stabilized. The veterinarian explained that type 1 diabetes in dogs in most often genetic and diagnosed around age 6. Despite hearing this, we were afraid that we had done something to cause Vino’s diabetes. We consider our dogs not only our pets, but members of our family, so of course we want the best for them. Vino sometimes eats fallen fruit from the trees in my grandparent’s backyard. It was killing me to think that had we prevented him from eating the fruit he wouldn't have been sick.

He's a snuggler, hiker, bath taker (in a MCM pink bathtub), & a beach goer.
After 5 days Vino was able to come home along with special dog food, a feeding schedule and a prescription for insulin. Luckily his organs were unaffected, so he will be making a complete recovery by being fed twice a day followed by an insulin shot. The veterinarian was optimistic that Vino will live a long, normal life following this new regiment. He also told us not to be discouraged by the fact that most dogs only live 6-7 years after being diagnosed with diabetes, because most of them are not diagnosed until they are already 6 or 7 years old.

Since we weren't able to visit him while he was in the hospital, I went straight over to see him the night he arrived home. Vino loves stuffed animals so I picked him up a stuffed bunny as a get well gift. I was surprised at how skinny he was – I could feel his bones as I pet him which is the opposite of the muscular dog he used to be. As I sat on the ground with him in my lap I hugged him and cried. I cried because I was happy he was going to be okay, but I was so sorry that he was sick and had to go through this.
It has been a week since Vino has been recovering at home. He has gained back a few pounds and is busy rough housing and playing as usual. He is loving his new food and handling his insulin shots just fine. For this we are all thankful.

Just when things were looking up we found out that Vino’s brother Sparky (who lives next door) has also been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. I feel sad for Sparky having to go through what Vino did, but also relieved. I still kept thinking there could have been something we could have done to prevent him from getting diabetes, but now we know it really is his and Sparky’s genes. Apparently miniature schnauzers are one of the top breeds affected by diabetes.

Schnauzer wall art by Going Places 2
Before Vino got sick I didn’t know about diabetes in dogs, and I bet most dog lovers don’t either. Although our family and friends have been supportive, it has been a tough few weeks. I wanted to share Vino’s story to bring awareness that diabetes doesn’t just affect humans, but also our furry best friends. The same way that people adjust to life with a disease, we as pet owners can help our dogs (and cats) brave through the highs and lows of life with diabetes. Vino’s life with diabetes will get easier, because we are by his side giving him the unconditional love and support he has given us. 


  1. I am so glad that Vino is going to be alright and hope the best for Sparky. What a traumatic thing to go through. I grew up with a miniature schnauzer, Mitzy. Such a cute breed. Thanks for sharing about diabetes in dogs. That was eyeopening! Dog kisses for Vino~


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