When Duke, the English Mastiff she and her husband rescued a year ago, woke her in the middle of the night earlier this month, Lucia Catherine Piscoglio, of Swedesboro, N.J., knew something was terribly wrong.
Piscoglio checked the video baby monitor next to her bed. The face of her 9-month-old daughter, Ava Jane, was buried in the bumper pad of her crib.
“As Duke and I ran to her side, I didn’t feel her inhale or exhale,” Piscolglio wrote on the Duke & Vaccination Awareness Facebook group page. “I am not positive if she ever stopped breathing, because I scooped her up so quickly and she began to cry from being startled. Duke gave her a quick lick on the head and we sat in there all together for awhile.”
Ava Jane and Duke, who’s 20 months old, have a special bond that was formed even before the baby was born.
“Throughout pregnancy he stayed by my side,” Piscolglio wrote. “Once Ava Jane was born, he immediately became her best friend. They never leave each other’s side. He sleeps outside her door. He is there for every diaper change, every bath and whatever else we decide to do.”
Just a few days after performing his heroic deed, Duke himself needed rescuing when he suffered a severe allergic reaction to a Lyme disease vaccination.
“He was swollen all over, not eating, not drinking, not going to the bathroom or even moving,” Piscoglio wrote.
Duke was placed in critical care at a local animal hospital, where veterinarians determined he had vasculitis, which destroys blood vessels, as well as hemorrhaging in his eye.
Nearly $1,500 for his care has been raised as of today via the crowdfunding page Dukes Vet Bills.
The Facebook group Duke & Vaccination Awareness, which Piscoglio created after her dog’s ordeal, currently has about 345 members.
Duke was released from the hospital, but he still has swelling and difficulty walking. “He is being treated with a steroid pill, antibiotic, Benadryl twice a day and Pepcid,” Piscoglio wrote. “He has also been placed on a strict diet.”
Piscoglio noted that she is not against vaccines, but urged pet parents to educate themselves. “Ask questions, because we almost lost Duke to something preventable,” she wrote.
“This is a story that can show many that the world is not so bad and that there is kindness everywhere,” Piscoglio told NBC10. “Duke is Ava Jane’s guardian Angel. Now Duke has many guardian Angels.”
Photos via Facebook