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Real Stories From Dog Owners: Can Dogs Sense When People Need Them?

By: Petplace Staff

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Their Presence Helped Me More Than I Can Ever Say

Hello - I read Dr. Jon's message asking for personal stories of how dogs sense when someone needs them due to illness etc. One morning in April 2005, I woke up in excruciating pain and was unable to raise my arms and get out of bed to call for help. I had double vision and my balance was off. I had every symptom of MS, but after numerous tests, it was determined I did not have the underlying disease. Something triggered an autoimmune response that attacked my central nervous system. I had to learn to hold a fork again, to dress myself again, to walk without a limp etc. All with excruciating pain. I have 2 toy poodles that at the time were 2 & 3 years old. Still young, playful dogs. Somehow they knew that I was sick and they stayed with me during the worst of it. When I was in pain, they stayed quiet and just their presence helped more than I can ever say. I knew when I was getting better because they started playing again. They could sense that I was better and it was OK to go back to life again. I can't ever repay them for how they helped me through one of the lowest points in my life. But then, just being with me is all they seem to want in return. That is what is so great about dogs. They don't care how much money I have, how old I am or how I look etc. As long as they can share my life, they are sticking with me. I would do anything for them.

"We must let go of the life we have planned in order to have the life that is waiting"

Joseph Campbell

My Husband Said He Didn't Feel Well

In August of 2006 my husband said that he didn't feel well. All day he said he just didn't feel right. His chest was tight and he was feeling sick to his stomach. He figured he was just getting the flu and decided to lay down for a while. Any other time he would lay down our 2 miniature pinchers would jump up and lay on him or by him. This day neither of our dogs would go near my husband. They laid down about 6 feet away from him and just watched him. It freaked my husband out so much that he said that the dogs acting the way they did made him feel that he should call his doctor. Upon hearing his symptoms his doctor sent us immediately to the ER and sure enough my husband had a heart attack when after we arrived there.

We still credit the dog's actions for my husband going to the hospital and being there when he had his heart attack thus getting him immediate care. He had a stent put in his heart and is now taking medications along with taking better care of himself so he doesn't have another attack. You should know that my husband is the type of person that never goes to the doctor unless he is deathly sick so for him to say the dogs are acting weird so maybe I should call the doctor is unbelievable. We always loved our dogs but now we call them our lifesavers!

Patrick and Terri Luft
Selinsgrove, Pa

Sammy Gave Me His Best

Yes I believe dogs can sense when people need them. A former neighbor of mine gained a dog after her "Grandson" refused to go home after a visit. Turns out my neighbor had cancer and Henri (pronounced ornery) protectively watches over her as she goes through her chemotherapy treatments.

A little more than a week after I got my own dog I had my own experience. Sammy was nearly a year old when I brought him home from my local shelter. We were practicing our obedience lessons when he took off and dragged me into (over) a headstone. When I came to my senses I thought it was over. The cemetery faced the highway and Sammy barely knew his name and we hadn't gotten up to "Come" in the lesson plan yet. Both of my knees were skinned and my foot had disconnected from the rest of my leg.

Sammy had come back and was sitting in my blind spot. When he licked my bloody knee and I burst out crying. Together we limped to the car. This would be the one and only time Sammy would get into the car on his own. Imagine me showing up to Obedience School the following week and trying to lift a full-grown black lab into the back seat while balancing on crutches.

Maybe he just felt guilty but for the rest of the day he didn't leave my side. He spent the rest of the evening lying on top of me on the sofa. It would be months before he mastered the art of "Heel", "Come", and "Stay" but on that day I saw the best in Sammy.

S.M.
Des Moines, IA

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