For people with medical issues or disabilities, having a service animal can make a huge difference. These pets are trained to assist in emergencies, help out around the house, and provide comfort during difficulties.
One woman’s story really shows just how much a service dog can change a life. Not only did the dog help her detect a life-threatening condition, she loyally stayed by her side when she needed him most.
Shauna Darcy received a service dog named Ruby, and the two hit it off right away. The dog was originally meant to help her with her anxiety and depression… but quickly revealed she could do even more.
“While she was training to be a service dog I noticed that she started picking up on changes in my heart rate and would act funny,” Shauna told The Dodo. “For example, paw at me, try to get my attention, get on top of me, etc.”
Shauna had no idea something was wrong with her heart—but the dog’s warning convinced her to see a doctor, where she discovered she had a rare heart condition called vascular Ehlers-Danlos syndrome.
It’s a very serious and life-threatening condition. Suddenly, Ruby had a much more crucial role helping Shauna deal with her cardiac issues.
“When I pass out she gets on top of me and applies all her pressure on me and licks my hands and face until I come around,” Shauna said.
The dog also helps her monitor her heart and blood pressures, retrieve medications during emergencies and help with household tasks like carrying groceries.
Then one day, Ruby saved his owner’s life.
Shauna didn’t think anything was wrong, but Ruby started acting strange as if to alert her of something. Knowing to trust the dog’s judgement, she decided to play it safe by calling an ambulance.
It was a decision that saved her life—she soon realized she was going into atrial fibrillation. “By the time the paramedics came, I was in pain and barely conscious,” she told The Dodo.
It’s easy to imagine how things would’ve been different if the dog hadn’t alerted her: “I wouldn’t be alive without her,” Shauna said.
She was rushed to the hospital. Even as she was unconscious, the loyal Ruby stayed by her bedside the whole time.
Luckily, Shauna’s condition stabilized and she was able to return home.
It goes to show how invaluable a service dog can be! Thank you to Ruby for saving Shauna’s life and being such a loyal friend!
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