Animal Angels: Zoey Saves the Day

A golden retriever acts as a guardian angel when she saves her owner's life.

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Portrait of a golden retriever sitting down in a beautiful farm

Pulmonary fibrosis put me on full-time oxygen therapy. I’d gotten used to the constant whirring of the machine. “Maybe I shouldn’t go fishing,” my husband said as I topped off the water tank the night before his scheduled trip. The vapor the machine generated helped me inhale the pure oxygen, which kept up the oxygen levels in my blood.

“Zoey will take care of me while you’re gone,” I said. I patted our golden retriever. Our first day alone Zoey and I visited with my adult daughter. I was absolutely pooped by the time she’d left. But just as I got ready for bed, a friend called for a long chat. I barely hung up before falling asleep.

In the middle of the night Zoey woke me, pawing me on the arm. “It’s okay,” I told her. “Go and lie down, girl.”

She kept pawing me and whining. “You need to go out?”

I got up to get her leash. Instead of running to the door, Zoey whined again. “Zoey, what…?”

A wave of nausea washed over me. I almost passed out. What’s going on? Then I knew. I didn’t hear the whir of the oxygen machine. It had automatically shut off because the water tank was empty. I’d forgotten to fill it before I went to bed. In the hours since it shut off, my oxygen levels had dropped dangerously low. If it hadn’t been for Zoey, I would never have woken up that next morning. She’s a breath of fresh air, in more ways than one.

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