And, so far so good. I'm losing weight (yay!), and my numbers (A1C, glucose levels, cholesterol, blood pressure etc...) all fall well within the healthy, normal ranges now (well, except triglycerides, which I'm still working on, but they ARE significantly lower). Some of this I attribute to my working hard on lifestyle changes.
But some of my progress I have to attribute to our canine crew -- especially my weight loss (they keep me busy) and improvement in blood pressure (they calm me down).
Call me crazy... but...canines really can impact our health for good. Get this...
Even though I'm not technically diabetic, I subscribe to the ADA's (American Diabetic Association's) newsletter. In this week's headline, lo and behold, here's what I read:
Could a Dog Save Your Life?
I've long been aware of seizure alert dogs, Seeing Eye dogs, hearing dogs, various aid dogs, therapy dogs, search-and-rescue dogs, drug or bomb detecting dogs, and even dogs that can sniff out cancer in its earliest stages -- all dogs who routine save lives.
But I'd only recently heard about dogs helping people with diabetes. Researchers have learned that our canine friends can somehow detect falling glucose levels. When they sense rapid drops in glucose in their owners' bloodstreams, these "sixth-sense" canines can alert their diabetic owners before the owner falls into a diabetic coma, giving the owner time to call for help (you can read about it here)!
Wonder Dogs. They save lives -- in huge, dramatic ways.
But lately, I've been feeling like my guys here -- Baxter, Elsie, Ridge, Kenya, and Pinot -- have been "saving my life" (if you will) in countless small ways.
No, I'm not blind or visually impaired. I'm not deaf or hearing impaired. I'm not physically challenged. I don't have a seizure disorder, cancer, or diabetes.
But life right now is hard, and they help me hang on.
Regular Reader knows things here have been crummy and crisis-filled since October (and it still is). And, truth be told, it's catching up to me. It seems like I'm here to cheer and support everyone else, and I do, or at least I try. But this stuff impacts me, too. Where do I go to process? Where do I get to crash? (Can you hear the pity-me violins whining in the background???).
Sometimes I just wear out. I want somebody to be my cheerleader (how selfish is that?!). I am only human, after all.
Enter Baxter, Elsie, Ridge, Kenya, and Pinot (Baxter, the couch-potato, is missing from the photo below).
How can I not smile at their goofy faces and silly antics? How can I not feel loved and valued and appreciated when they greet me with a bazillion kisses each day? How can my aching heart not be comforted when my feet hold Kenya's slumbering head and my lap holds various parts of canine anatomy belonging to any one of our crew (whoever happens to be in my lap at the time)?
Our Labs keep me healthy and alive:
- They restore my sanity.
- They put my heart at rest.
- They lower my stress levels.
- They make me smile.
- They give of themselves when I have nothing to give.
- They listen, without judgment, when no on else will.
- They believe in me even when I'm scared, when I've screwed up, or when I don't believe in myself anymore.
- They remind me there's a Creator who cares and loves, particularly when I wonder if that's still so.
- They show me that faithfulness, optimism, and beauty still exist in this broken, fallen world and that good things still make up much of my life and existence.
- They offer companionship when I feel isolated, company when I'm lonely, affection when I feel unloved, and concern when I feel forgotten.
- The love me and encourage me.
- They cheer me on.
- And they deliver me from my morose, melancholy self. :o)
They do "save" me.
Could a Dog Save Your Life?
You bet. Five faithful canine friends already have mine -- in more ways than I can count or imagine.
And because they have, I can face each new day and can continue to support and encourage those around me with love and a grace-filled heart.
'Til next time,
P.S. (So sorry not to have posted the last ten days or so. I've just been in a crummy spot and didn't want to whine.)