Juniper — Service
Following a debilitating ischemic stroke, my nearly 95 year old Dad came to live with my wife and me full time. In 2018 we acquired Juniper, a Portuguese Water Dog, who along with a bright attentiveness, has an uncanny hearing system from afar, including from my Dad’s downstairs bedroom at the other end of our home. In the past nearly 2 years, my father has been hospitalized 5 times with pneumonia caused by swallowing problems stemming from the results of the stroke.
Juniper, like most Portuguese Water Dogs, is ultra sensitive to every sound in the house and to every family member. In each of the 5 pneumonia episodes, Juniper heard my Dad’s labored breathing, from her crate In my bedroom, and sounded the high pitched bark/whinny alert that these dogs make in urgent situations (hereditary, not trained), because somehow she sensed a danger that my Dad was in trouble. Each time, my wife and I ran downstairs, checked his pulse and oxygen rate which was dangerously low below 88, so we called 911, got the EMT experts to come, stabilize him and get him to hospital for multiple days of treatment and subsequent recovery. Each time as we brought Dad home, Juniper had placed her paws up on the window sill in my Dads bedroom, watching and awaiting his safe return. She’s a 5 Time 5-star hero in our view for the 5 life saving alerts she sensed and sounded.