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How my job helps me live a better life

Hey everyone, my name is Bret Pilney, and I work in the Primate Department as a Keeper I. I mainly work with the orangutans, but every once in a while I help out in gorillas and in our small African primate area whenever they might need a hand. That being said, for this blog I won’t necessarily be discussing the orangutan routine, but instead I will be discussing how my job helps me manage my type one diabetes and how being an animal care professional allows me to live a better life.

To begin, in short, type one diabetes is an autoimmune disease that attacks your pancreas and kills your beta cells that secrete a thing called insulin. Insulin helps regulate the amount of glucose within your bloodstream. Now this was a very brief description as to what type one diabetes is, but it requires someone who has the disease to make multiple decisions that could greatly impact their daily life and can be incredibly hard to manage. Luckily for some individuals, managing their type one diabetes comes fairly easily with their daily activities. As for myself, living an active lifestyle in combination with being a keeper helps me regulate my type one diabetes and keep my blood glucose levels within a normal range.

As a member of the Primate Department, I see that my step-counting device tells me I average roughly around 25,000 to 35,000 total steps per day. This means we are constantly moving and doing projects, cleaning, and giving the animals we work with the best animal well-being possible. The amount of steps, physical activity and a proper diet helps aid in keeping my glucose levels within the normal range. Physical activity causes your body to burn calories, which lowers your blood glucose levels, which in return, helps keep my type one diabetes within these normal ranges.

The Zoo is an amazing place to work. Being surrounded by animals on a constant basis and working in a friendly, fun environment are just a few of the perks of being an animal care professional, but for myself, being a keeper means living a better life and having an even better control over my type one diabetes.
Bret Pilney
Keeper I, Primates

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