Rescue dog saves local man’s life

Could the family pet save your life? A local man says he would be dead if it wasn’t for his dog.

Lewis Thomas was out hunting two years ago when he stumbled upon a puppy that was tied up in a trash bag.

"So I took him home and wound up getting attached to him," says Thomas.

Thomas and his new dog, Hunter, were inseparable.

Late last year, Thomas started feeling sick and Hunter started acting unusual.

"My dog kept coming up to me, putting his nose against my chest, pushing real hard and looking up at me," says Thomas. "When I’d ask him what was wrong, he’d rear his head up real fast and hard to where the top of his nose would hit me in the bottom of my chin."

Thomas says that went on for several weeks. Then one night, Hunter woke him up from a deep sleep.

"The next thing I knew, he had me by my arm with my wrist in his mouth, pulling me out of the bed," says Thomas.

Thomas thought Hunter wanted to go outside. So he followed him with his wrist still in the dog’s mouth.

"It could have been 30 seconds; it could have been 30 minutes," says Thomas. "I really don’t know how long I was standing out here with him but it kind of hit me, ‘Hey, your chest is hurting.’ I was having a hard time breathing."

Thomas says he was disoriented but somehow made it to the hospital.

"I walked in the door of the hospital and I said, ‘Ma’am, I think I need some help,’" says Thomas. "She said, ‘Sir, you’re having a heart attack.’"

Dr. Niki Henderson, a veterinarian at Animal Kare Center in Paducah, says dogs have a sense of smell so intense they can sniff out cancer, diabetes and heart attacks. She says some aren’t even trained for it, they just know by detecting a change in your body.

Thomas says Hunter saved his life.

"So, whoever threw him out, I’d like to punch you in the mouth and I’d like to shake your hand," says Thomas. "You did me a favor. Your trash was my treasure."

Since the heart attack, Thomas says Hunter alerts him when his blood pressure is low. Hunter is now on his way to becoming a certified service dog. Thomas says the pup will get his vest from in a couple months.

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