a 74-year-old man from Denver is lucky to be alive after his assistance dog, Jessie, raised the alarm when he suffered a heart attack in his home.
Phillip Mckenzie was watching television in his living room when he began feeling shortness of breath and a sharp pain in his chest. In an interview with the Denver Inquirer, Mr Mckenzie shared his memory of that day:
“I knew right away that it wasn’t good… I started to get up from the couch to go to the phone but halfway there I collapsed onto the floor and couldn’t get up. I couldn’t even open my mouth to call for help, the pain was so bad.”
He says that his only chance of survival was for Jessie to find him and call for help.
The labrador ran over to her owner and initially thinking that Mr Mckenzie was playing a game, licked his face affectionately. He says:
“after I didn’t respond to her and kept writhing in pain, I think it dawned on her that this was something serious.” The dog ran over to the K9 alarm and activated a switch which instantly contacted 911. The device featured a speaker phone but as Mr Mckenzie was in too much pain to respond, Jessie barked hysterically which gave paramedics the hint, and they rushed over to his home.
The team who treated him stated that there’s no doubt the Labrador saved his life.
“In cases like this, unless the heart attack victim receives prompt medical attention, within half an hour, their prospects of survival are not good,” They said.
“We have a lot of patients who we could have saved, if only they’d been able to sound the alarm earlier. There’s no doubt that Jessie’s call for help saved Mr McKenzie’s life.”
Mr Mckenzie also has his daughter to thank who encouraged him to get an assistance dog after he injured his hip when he slipped in the bath in 2013. She was inspired by a story she’d heard about a German Shepard dog who had saved his owner after he had suffered a seizure. The dog had activated a similar device and paramedics were able to reach the scene within three minutes, saving the man’s life.
Aren’t dogs just great?