ICHLAND, Wash. — When Leana Beasley, 45, suffered a seizure and passed out last fall, her dog, Faith, sprang into action. Faith, a 4-year-old Rottweiler, ran to the phone, took the receiver off the hook, called 911, and started barking.
Jenny Buchanan, the dispatcher who answered the call, sensed something was wrong. “The dog was too persistent in barking directly into the phone receiver,” Buchanan told The Associated Press. “I knew she was trying to tell me something.”
A police officer raced to Beasley’s home. When he arrived, Faith unlocked the door and let him in to help Beasley. “[Faith’s] a real trouper,” said Beasley several days later, after waking up in a hospital.
Beasley has epilepsy–a brain disorder marked by seizures and loss of consciousness. She got Faith several years ago to help her whenever she suffered a seizure. The dog was trained to roll Beasley onto her back and push up her chin to open her airway, enabling her to breathe properly when she passes out. Faith was also trained to press a speed-dial button that calls 911 on Beasley’s phone.
In addition, Faith learned to sense changes in Beasley’s body chemistry. Some changes can signal an oncoming seizure. Beasley says Faith was agitated during the hours that led up to her seizure. The dog kept nuzzling her and kept her from falling sleep. “It’s kind of hard to sleep,” said Beasley, “when you’ve got an 80-pound dog running around in circles on your bed.”