I reversed my type 2 diabetes by walking my dog

A Salisbury man who has lost almost four stone in weight and reversed his type 2 diabetes says he has ‘gained years of his life back’ and owes it all to his rescue dog, Charlie who he adopted from Dogs Trust Salisbury a year ago. 

This time last year, Ron Lightfoot, aged 59, was suffering from Type 2 diabetes and was also receiving medication to help him through his depression after several life events affected his mental health. Due to a combination of his physical and mental health problems, Ron also retired as a firefighter at MOD Porton Down in Salisbury, where he’d worked for 30 years. 

Ron said:

“The back end of 2017 was not a good time for me personally. My state of mind suffered after a bereavement and a relationship breakdown, and I had no reason to get up and get out of the house. I had also suffered from Type 2 diabetes since 2011 and my doctor urged me to do something about both my diet and activity levels to try and reverse it. 

“Getting a dog had been mentioned a few times as a way to get me out and about, but until I retired, I wasn’t really in a position to commit to owning a dog.” 

In January 2018, newly-retired Ron decided to take a trip to the Dogs Trust rehoming centre in Newton Tony and fell instantly win love with the first dog he set eyes on – Charlie an eight-month-old Lurcher. After meeting each other a couple of times, Charlie was soon heading home with Ron and the pair haven’t looked back. Since adopting Charlie, Ron has lost three-and-a-half stone and managed to reverse his diabetes as a result of the weight lost from going on long walks with his new best friend. 

Ron added:

“Adopting Charlie has been the best decision I have ever made – he has given me years of my life back. We walk for around ten miles each day and even though I’ve always liked the idea of walking to improve my health, the thought of doing it alone never appealed to me. That all changed the day I got Charlie because I knew that no matter what, he needed exercise. Little did I know that he would have quite such a profound impact on my life.” 

Ron says, that despite doing wonders for his physical health, his mental health has improved since owning Charlie, too. 

He continues:

“Without a shadow of a doubt, Charlie has not only done wonders for my physical health, but having a reason to get out of bed has improved my state of mind. He is a cheeky chappy and makes me laugh every day. He loves meeting new people so when we’re out on our walks I end up chatting to people that I would’ve usually walked past if I didn’t have Charlie. 

“Now my days are full of walking and talking, which they definitely wouldn’t be if it wasn’t for Charlie. I feel like a better person since he came into my life. He genuinely has helped my soul.” 

Now one and a half, Charlie arrived at Dogs Trust Salisbury in January 2018 after being handed in by his owners through no fault of his own. He had been there for two weeks until Ron walked through the doors of the rehoming centre. 

Jacinta Lye, Rehoming centre manager at Dogs Trust Salisbury, says:

“Dogs really are incredible animals and hearing how much joy Charlie has brought to Ron’s life really touches our hearts. Charlie has clearly landed on his paws with Ron, and it’s wonderful to see the bond they have with one another.” 

Find out more about the dogs looking for new homes, by calling Dogs Trust Shrewsbury on 0300 303 0292.