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Girl and dog form healing bond

Humane Society pup, 8-year-old both have diabetes

A friendship between a young girl and her dog can be ordinary, but what Madalaine Hembraugh and Petey the pooch share is extraordinary.

Both are living with Type 1 diabetes, a disease where the body cannot control its glucose levels.

The prognosis was dim when Petey the pooch arrived at the Humane Society of Southern Arizona in November. Another veterinary clinic transferred him to the shelter barely alive.

“He came in in such poor health, he was skinny and a stray,” HSSA spokeswoman Lyndsay Bruno said.

His diabetes was discovered though his initial work-up at HSSA and the shelter's vets had to amputate one of Petey's hind legs.

“It is something we see routinely in canines,” Bruno said.

Slowly, the 1-year-old terrier mix with sand-colored fur regained the wag in his tail.

A few weeks ago, the HSSA deemed Petey well enough to join a foster family to continue his rehabilitation.

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It was no surprise when Dr. Karter Neal, a veterinarian and HSSA's medical director, brought him to her Tucson home where her 8-year-old daughter, Madalaine, bonded with the pup, Bruno said.

Petey and Madalaine have their blood-sugar levels tested together each night.

“It has really helped. It’s nice to have someone else who has diabetes living here,” Madalaine said in a press release.

Madalaine was diagnosed with diabetes five years ago. She was the only one in her school with diabetes, now there are six children with the condition there, the release said.

“She is teaching Petey that you can live a normal life with diabetes,” Neal said in the release.

Though he will need insulin and regular vet check ups, Petey will live a fairly normal life, Bruno said.

The shelter hopes to have Petey ready for adoption in a month so he can find his “forever home,” she said.

“It is amazing, in a case like that. The staff gets very connected to an animal, “ Bruno said. "I have the greatest admiration for the clinic staff who have seen Petey through from the beginning where he was barely alive.”

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Humane Society of Southern Arizona

Madalaine with her mother, Dr. Karter Neal, and Petey the pooch.

Youtube Video

Symptoms of diabetes

  • Increased urination
  • Drinking of excessive amounts of water
  • Sudden weight loss

HSSA's foster care program

There are about 500 foster care families with the HSSA that foster 13,000 pets a year until they are ready for adoption.

Responsibilities range from caring for litters of puppies and kittens to special needs animals like Petey.

For more information, visit HSSA's website.