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Of Homemade Dog Treats and Other Things Most Important in Life

Bella is shown donning her knitted sweater, made by George and I, with much love, and to help her to use her nutritional energy more towards digestion and living than towards keeping body heat at max during the cold of the Minnesota winter.

Posted by Mike

It is amazing how some of the simplest things in life can bring the most profound insights or understandings. That idea struck home with me recently when I was making "dog treats" for our beloved terrier, Bella. Well, technically, they are not "treats." They are her food now, which we bake and cut into little treat-shaped squares. We then give them to her throughout the day, all day long, like lots of little batches of treats. We have been tweaking the recipe to give her the maximum nutrition, and in a way that her little body can process it. It is a feeding system that is working really well for her. And, that is a good thing because not very long ago we were not sure she would still be with us today.

Bella is severely diabetic and insulin dependent and has been since we adopted her more than 8 years ago. Before we adopted her, Bella's diabetes nearly killed her. And we did not know if she would live very long when we adopted her. Thankfully, good homemade food and lots of love have kept her diabetes in check and her blood sugar stable for all of those eight years. Unfortunately, that has recently changed.

Bella recently experienced a bout of pancreatitis that left her unable to keep food down. That is bad for any dog. But, for a geriatric diabetic dog, it is much worse. Ever since, we have been working to come up with the perfect recipe of food and the perfect feeding schedule so that she can simply be able to process the nutrition without getting sick. We are also adapting to a new blood testing and insulin schedule to accommodate the new feeding schedule. It is all a bit of a delicate balancing act to keep her as happy and healthy as she can possibly be. Baking her special "dog treats" has become a regular activity at our house. Those are the dog treats I was making when it occurred to me that we have always known that this was how the end of Bella's life was going to go. We have been through the process of old and dying dogs before. We know what it is like to watch their organs slowly struggle to keep up. And, we know some good nutritional tricks to help them out along the way. With her medical issues, there was no doubt in my mind that at some point we would be baking up "special treats." The path that she is on has only one direction and there are key mileposts along the way. It breaks my heart into pieces to see her coming to the end of her days. She is genuinely one of the sweetest souls I have met in my life.

My life is better for having had her in it. I have learned a lot from her. I love her with all of my heart. So, I am thankful to have the knowledge and ability and the veterinary coaching to make each and every one of her days as happy and healthy as possible. Every single day is a gift, a lesson I re-learned baking dog treats.

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