The Dog That Answered a Prayer

The Dog That Answered a Prayer

The amazing story of how this dog saved her life.

Barbara Aqua and Shredder

I opened the door to the Trents’ house and was greeted, as usual, by Shredder, their Airedale. He bounded toward me, jumped up and put a paw on each shoulder. “Okay, boy,” I said, rubbing the inside of his ears the way he liked.

He groaned contentedly. Then he brought me the raggedy old stuffed monkey he liked to play fetch with. I tossed it down the hall a few times. “That’s all for now,” I told him.

If Shredder had his way, I’d play with him all day. He had energy to burn. But with so many things on my schedule—PTA meetings, Girl Scouts, dinner, other houses to clean—I didn’t have time.

I’d been cleaning for the Trents going on two years. I should have been used to dogs being underfoot. After all, my husband, Dave, our two girls and I had a pair of high-energy Scottish terriers. That day I told Shredder to lie down on his pillow. “I’ve got to get to work now,” I said.

I headed downstairs to vacuum the family room. Shredder settled on his pillow. Probably can’t wait till I’m done so we can play some more, I thought. Too bad for him that I’m out of here as soon as I’m finished.

All of a sudden pain shot through my head. It was unlike anything I’d ever felt–10 times worse. Light exploded behind my eyes. The vacuum hose slipped out of my hand, and I fell to my knees.

I knew someone who’d died from a brain aneurysm. Is that what’s happening to me? I had to get help. Now. Before it was too late.

Phone, I thought. The nearest phone was in the kitchen. I tried to stand up, but couldn’t. I have to get upstairs. It felt like my head was going to explode. I managed to crawl to the foot of the steps. But I couldn’t move anymore. I was helpless.

Through the pounding pain, I said a prayer. God, I don’t want this to be the end. I’ve got a husband and two kids who need me. I want to see them again. Please help.

I looked up. Shredder stared back at me from the top step, tail slightly thumping the floor. Did he think I was playing?

“Come here,” I whispered, trying to make my voice sound playful. He cocked his head and stared quizzically. “C’mon, boy,” I said. Shredder padded down the steps and stood next to me. His tail stopped wagging. Did he sense something was wrong?

“Help me, Shredder,” I said, grabbing his collar with my left hand. He climbed a step, then stopped. “Up!” I said. He looked back at me as if to say, “Is this right?” “Go,” I whispered. He started to drag me.

My left arm went numb. I had to look at Shredder’s collar to make sure I kept my grip. I reached with my right hand, managed to get hold of the banister and pulled Shredder tugged, and I made it up one step at a time.

I squeezed my eyes shut. Little explosions of light flashed across the inside of my eyelids. “Hurry, Shredder.”

Shredder got me to the top of the steps. Then I started to crawl. Shredder grabbed my sleeve in his teeth. He pulled and tugged, helping me across the kitchen floor. Now I knew what that stuffed monkey must’ve felt like. Finally, the phone.

You’re not going to make it. Call Dave. I needed to tell him what had happened. I didn’t want the Trents to have to deliver the bad news. I got the answering machine. The message I left must have scared him silly.

“I’m at the Trents’. I think I’m having an aneurysm. I’m going to die. I just wanted to tell you I love you.” Then I called 911.

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