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Listen To Your Dog
A non-doglover heeds Malti-Poo’s warning.

My editor sent me a story a few weeks back about a woman who says a dog saved her from a life-threatening brain injury. I added the story to my virtual "To Read" folder and only got to it yesterday, when it hit me like a ton of bricks. The short version: A nurse in Missouri was fighting off what she thought was a severe migraine headache when a colleague’s Maltese-Poodle mix (for whom she had no love-loss) began licking her right temple “as though it had been smeared with bacon grease”--in the words of a St. Louis Post-Dispatch reporter. Mary Phillips took the dog’s intervention as a warning and shuttled off to the ER, where doctors discovered and repaired a “giant,” leaking aneurysm.

The story is one more anecdote in a growing body of evidence that dogs can detect health problems we miss, including cancer and low-blood sugar. It’s also a reminder that they have things to tell us—some urgent and some less so—if we will pay attention. For me personally, the story took me back to my mother. She too suffered a debilitating headache, which kept her home from church one Sunday. While the rest of us where away from home, she was taken to the hospital where doctors discovered an aneurysm. In her case, it was too late. Having lived a lifetime without her, I feel a special admiration for Jacques-Pierre, the Maltese-mix who convinced Phillips to see a doctor in time to save her life.

Lisa Wogan lives in Seattle and is the author of, most recently, Dog Park Wisdom. lisawogan.com
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Submitted by SaraG | August 17 2009 |

It's not the same but I'm pretty sure my dog saved me from a dangerous encounter once. We'd been driving across country, and after a long day, we were playing fetch at the edge of a motel parking lot. My dog loves fetch but she seemed distracted and wasn't really engaging in the play. She even wandered back to the door of our room a few times with the ball. Finally, I gave up and decided to call it a night. That's when I noticed there was someone in the cab of a truck idling nearby. I knew the truck was there but I'd sort of ignored it. I had a very strong feeling I was being watched. I was glad to get into my room and bolt my door and climb into bed with my pup. Maybe it's all in my head but I think she knew more than I did.

Submitted by Shar | August 17 2009 |

SaraG: Years ago, I recall reading somewhere: "Trust in your instincts, and they'll never steer you wrong!" (Obviously paraphrasing, here LOL.)

I don't think it was even close to being 'all in your head' and BIG-TIME kudos to you for allowing your dog's instincts to give your own instincts a heads-up, then listening to both canine and human instincts and taking action. It probably saved you both life and limb.

Too often people feel that they 'shouldn't be so silly and paranoid' or 'don't want to that guy in the idling truck over yonder to think we're pre-judging him or anything,' only to later regret second-guessing themselves when something horrible DOES happen.

Hurray for SaraG and her K9 daughter!


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