Fulfilling Special Needs
By Seth Mendelson



Seth Mendelson



Cooper has diabetes.

My 10-year-old Westie was diagnosed with the disease recently. When he went to the vet, I kind of had the feeling that was going to be the case. West Highland White Terriers are prone to diabetes, and he had all the signs: excessive drinking, urinating and sleeping, some irritability and weight loss despite a healthy appetite.

A blood test confirmed it. His glucose levels were sky high. The good news is that the vet says he can still live a complete life. With the medications on the market and a close eye on his diet, his levels can return to normal and Cooper should be just fine.

It is still not going to be easy. The vet has given me a lot of information on feeding and the two insulin shots he has to take daily.

But it is going to be my favorite pet retailer who is going to have to fill in the blanks on such things as treats and meals that seem to be the very focus of Cooper’s existence.

From my perspective, Cooper’s highlight each day is waiting for me to wake up and give him his morning biscuits. His second highlight is getting his evening biscuits when I arrive home from work. Obviously, he cannot have them anymore. In fact, he cannot have just about anything he has been eating over the last decade.

I am going to depend on the pet retailer to help me choose the right food products for Cooper going forward. And if the merchant does not have the information—and the products—needed to keep Cooper healthy and his glucose levels in line, I am going to drop that retailer like a hot potato and go somewhere else to fulfill my needs.

I have already made the commitment to do what is necessary to help my dog live a long life. That means paying for the insulin and syringes needed for his daily shots. It also means that I am very willing to spend the extra money for the right merchandise to make sure that Cooper stays healthy for as long as possible.

If retailers want to earn my business, they need to make sure that they know a thing or two about diabetes in dogs and other animals, and stock the merchandise that they need to make it through the day.

Oh, one more thing. The vet told me that I am not alone in this diagnosis. As pets live longer, more are developing diseases such as diabetes. “We get a lot of pets coming in here with diabetes,” she said. “I would imagine a lot of people are going to retailers looking for the right products for these animals.” Get the point?