Toy poodle helps woman call for help after she suffers stroke

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — A woman in West Michigan is crediting her dog with helping to save her life after she suffered a stroke in her apartment.

Sixty-five-year-old Denise Shepard suffered a stroke about a month ago while she and her 11-year-old toy poodle Fluffy were alone at her apartment in Walker. When she found herself dazed and unable to move on the floor of her home, her dog jumped into action.

Denise and her beloved toy poodle Fluffy

“I was grunting trying to get back on the couch and he was standing by the phone. I told him to bring it closer and he opened his mouth with nothing to grip,” Shepard told FOX 17 Wednesday afternoon.

Shepard was having trouble figuring out exactly what was happening to her. But once she pulled herself partially onto her couch, she noticed that Fluffy had been able to slide her phone across the room. It was now sitting right at her feet and she was finally able to dial out.

She called her friend Marvelle, who then called an ambulance.

For about a week prior to her stroke, Shepard says she noticed Fluffy acting odd.

“He was acting all wimpy and I said what do you want fluffy, mommy don’t know what you want. He put his head down and walked toward me and put his paw on my leg," she said.

Fluffy and Carvelle visiting Denise Wednesday

Later, while she was in the hospital recovering she realized what the dog had been trying to do for days.

"My neighbor was telling me, Denise, dogs always know when something's getting ready to happen," she said.

Fluffy is now being cared for by Shepard's sister and her friend Marvelle.

Marvelle, who met Shepard about 4 years ago when they were neighbors at an apartment complex in Kentwood, brought the dog to visit her at Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital on Wednesday. It was only the second time she has been able to see Fluffy since her stroke.

Shepard now looks forward to checking out of Mary Free Bed at some point next week and celebrating Thanksgiving with her sister, Marvelle and her heroic little dog.

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