Michigan man credits dog for alerting him to heart attack, saving his life

National & World

Ken Richter, 52, said his Labrador Pitbull mix did something she'd never done before -- body slam him as he slept

GLADWIN CO., Mich. (CNN Newsource) – A dog in Michigan proved the old adage that a dog is a man’s best friend. Her owner said she alerted him to a heart attack.

Ken Richter, 52, has a 6-year-old Labrador Pitbull mix named Cheyenne.

“A lot of people don’t like Pitbulls,” he said. “They are the most friendly, awesome family dog if they are trained right.”

It might have been training, or perhaps Cheyenne’s own instincts, but their inseparable bond grew even stronger January 20.

“About 2:30 in the morning when I was laying there, sleeping.”

That’s when Cheyenne did something she had never done before.

“She just body slammed me. She never did anything like that. She just stood up and slammed right into my back and I have had surgery, so she knows not to mess with my back.”

At first, Ken was upset the 85-pound dog gave him the unexpected wake-up call.

“I yelled at her because I didn’t know what she was doing. So she took off out of my bedroom and I woke up, and my chest was hurting so bad, I could barely breathe.”

Ken said the pain wouldn’t go away so he eventually drove himself to the hospital.

“Within 10 to 15 minutes, they come and said the ambulance was coming in to transport me to Midland [Hospital] already. No sooner than I got to Midland at about 10:30 in the morning, they put a stent in me.”

He was having a heart attack.

“They said it was a bad one. I had, like, 99% blockage in my left ventricle.”

Ken’s doctor told him the dog most likely saved his life.

“You were probably in the middle of the heart attack when the dog did it.”

Ken has two children and another dog, Chunky-Monkey. He will turn 53 next month — a birthday he’ll celebrate, thanks to Cheyenne.

“I don’t think I would be here. My son, I have no idea where he would be now because at the time — I don’t have a living will but I have to get one going now.”

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