When Shauna Darcy got her service dog, Ruby, she had no idea that Ruby would one day save her life.
Shauna originally got Ruby to help her deal with anxiety, depression, and agoraphobia. Ruby turned out to be a loving companion to Shauna and the two were inseparable. At the time, Shauna had no idea she had a serious health crisis brewing.
Like most service dogs, Ruby is very intuitive and alerts to changes in Shauna’s health. Shauna reported to The Dodo, “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 — for example, paw at me, try to get my attention, get on top of me, etc.”
After a period of time in which Ruby was extra vigilant about Shauna’s health, Shauna decided to take a cue from Ruby and get checked by a doctor. Remarkably, it turned out that Shauna was suffering from a serious health problem that she didn’t even know she had.
The doctor diagnosed her with an illness called vascular Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, a rare inherited condition that was causing her cardiac issues and could lead to other serious health problems.
Faced with this new diagnosis, Ruby began to help Shauna even more. She started to monitor her heart rate and blood pressure, calm her during panic attacks, retrieve emergency medications, help her pick things up, and was even trained in deep pressure therapy.
Ruby cares for Shauna around the clock-even when Shauna doesn’t know she needs her. Like the day Ruby alerted her that she needed to call an ambulance. Shauna had no idea why she was calling but decided to trust Ruby and dialed the phone.
As it turns out, that call saved Shauna’s life! Shauna said, “It turns out my heart was going into atrial fibrillation. By the time the paramedics came, I was in pain and barely conscious.” Once at the hospital, Ruby never left Shauna’s side. She stayed pressed up against her offering comfort and support while the doctors stabilized her.
Ruby continues to care for Shauna to make sure she is okay. Please share the story of what a remarkable dog Rudy is with your family and friends.