There’s nothing quite like a story about a rescued dog who pays it forward by saving the life of its new pet parent. Fortunately, there seem to be plenty of these stories.
Most recently, a 6-year-old Pit Bull named Sweet Dee found her dog dad, Elliot Nerland, unresponsive on a couch in their Boston home.
Sweet Dee, who’d been adopted from the MSPCA five years ago by Nerland and his wife, Erin Daly, had sensed something was wrong. She left the bedroom where she was sleeping with Daly and approached Nerland on the couch. When her dog dad didn’t respond, Sweet Dee started barking. She ran back to the bedroom and nudged Daly with her nose until she awoke.
Nerland, who has a rare heart condition, was in full cardiac arrest. Daly called 911 and performed CPR on her husband.
“At this stage, Elliott’s heart had stopped and he was not breathing,” Daly said in a press release. “I credit Sweet Dee with making it very clear that something was terribly wrong. Had I made it there even one minute later, Elliott may not be with us today.”
After being rushed to the hospital and put in a medically induced coma for two days, Nerland was sent home.
“It’s just astounding how Sweet Dee knew that something was very wrong and that it was clear to her that I wasn’t sleeping,” Nerland said. “She’s a beloved member of our family, but I never realized just how deep our bond is. Both Dee and my wife were there for me when I needed them most, and I’m forever humbled and profoundly grateful.”
Dr. Terri Bright, director of the MSPCA’s Behavior Services department, said Sweet Dee’s heroic act illustrates the incredible bond shared by dogs and their pet parents.
“I think Sweet Dee knew something was horribly wrong and that she should sound the alarm, and she did so without fear of punishment for barking loudly,” Dr. Bright said. “She barked and woke Erin up, so in her own dog way, made it clear that Elliott needed help. She’s a hero — and so is Erin for administering life-saving CPR.”
CBS Boston reports that when Nerland got home from the hospital, Sweet Dee was rewarded with a “big, juicy steak.”
Photo credit: Elliot Nerland