We were not looking to add any more to our pack, but this little diabetic 18-pound poodle was shared on the Old Dog Havens Facebook page.  We both are diabetic and couldn’t imagine having high blood sugar in a stressful environment. We decided that we needed to give her a home.

We went to the shelter to pick up Pepper. Her age was unknown, but they think she is around ten. Her skin was thin on her backside, almost like someone had shaved her. She was so scared, but luckily the shelter gave us a blanket, and she buried herself under the blanket on my lap for most of the car ride home.  Our primary concern at the time was getting her into the vet to get a handle on her diabetes. We got her home, and her sugars were so high she could not control her bladder and only wanted to nuzzle into our laps. She had no issues with our other dogs and fit in quite nicely.

Pepper did not have to wait too long to see the vet. They did a bunch of testing and got her on some insulin. All her results suggested that she had Cushing’s disease. She has a slight heart murmur and some changes going on with her eyes. We got home that night, and we noticed that she had some discharge from her back end. I called the vet right away  and asked if she could be pregnant. They set up another appointment after reviewing her x-rays and confirming that she was pregnant. This was a shock to everyone and a scary situation. We had multiple doctors reaching out to other vets all over the country regarding a senior dog with diabetes being pregnant. They estimated her to be around 46 weeks. Her case was very rare. We all had to make a hard decision regarding Pepper’s health; unfortunately, the puppies were killing her.  We took Pepper to have an emergency spay and she had a four-day stay in the hospital. They also took a biopsy of her mammary tumor while she was under anesthesia.

While she was gone, our pack was very sad and knew something was happening. After four long days without her, I picked her up, and she almost took my face off with her cone. The vet tech said she had never seen a dog react this way and how sweet it was. We had an appointment to review her glucose numbers and get a game plan. Her sugars are a little more controlled but not where we want them. A week after her spay, we received an email regarding her biopsy, and it was cancerous. We wanted to wait to do another surgery, so hopefully, next month, we will have the mammary tumor removed. She has had a lot stacked against her but has unlimited love to share with anyone.  At one point, while reaching down to pet her,  Pepper snuck in a few kisses. It was the sweetest thing.

I can’t explain the way Pepper looks at us, but it is like she says thank you every time she looks at us. She is full of love and snuggles. One of her favorite things is having her head in the car window.  She has no problem laying her head on any of the other dogs or curling up with them in a dog bed. We go outside for two minutes, and she is so excited that we are back. She is a little jumping bean and is so intelligent. We have a routine down for checking her blood sugars. I sit on the floor, and she sits on my lap. She gets very excited because she knows food is coming next. We have stabilized her sugars from 400-700 to 120-360 with diet and adjusting her insulin.

We are excited to give her a happy life of beach walks and snuggles. Pepper has been a great addition to our pack and home!

Update:  After a wonderful time in her Final Refuge home, Pepper’s health failed her and we had to say goodbye.  This precious girl will always be remembered.