Dogs make our lives better. They give us love and comfort, they cheer us up when we are sad and they make us laugh until we cry. And in Shauna Darcy's case, her lovely pup Ruby has not only improved her life, but saved it.
Darcy and Ruby were initially brought together because Darcy had trouble with anxiety, depression, and agoraphobia, and hoped a service dog could help her. Ruby did an incredible job from the start and quickly became a loving companion for Darcy. Little did they know, that Ruby's love for her new mom would eventually save Darcy's life.
While still in training to become a service dog, Ruby noticed something that worried her.
"She started picking up on changes in my heart rate and would act funny — for example, paw at me, try to get my attention, get on top of me, etc," Darcy explains in an interview with The Dodo.
Darcy took Ruby's worries seriously and decided to seek medical attention. At the doctor's, it was revealed that Shauna had vascular Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, a rare heart condition that can be life-threatening.
Ruby had already had a great impact on Darcy's life, but she wasn't done yet.
Ruby's training shifted to focus on Darcy's heart issues, and now Ruby helps her mom with retrieving her medications and monitoring her heart rate.
Then, just a few weeks ago, Ruby started alerting Darcy that something was seriously wrong. Darcy, despite feeling fine, decided to trust Ruby and called herself an ambulance.
This decision could very well have saved her life. When she arrived at the hospital, she was barely conscious and in a lot of pain, as her heart had gone into atrial fibrillation, a heart condition where the heart rate becomes abnormally high.
While the doctors assisted Darcy, Ruby refused to leave her mother's side.
Even when Darcy lay unconscious, Ruby would simply curl up next to her in her hospital bed. Ruby knew that Darcy needed her love and support.
Darcy is incredibly grateful to her lovely pup and knows she's lucky to have such an amazing friend in her life. She knows Ruby will always be right there by her side, keeping her safe and sound.
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