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My Heart Beats For Nanook

Nanook and Coleen Kilby during the Purina Animal Hall of Fame awards ceremony.

Nanook joined the Kilby family of St. Catharines, Ontario, as a gift from Coleen Kilby's husband who was often out of town. The happy and energetic Siberian Husky cross was to be her companion but the canine was destined to be so much more. Little did she know that the dog would also save her life.

One day, Coleen noticed that Nanook was acting very clingy, following her around the house wherever she went. She tried to coax the canine into playing, but Nanook was not interested, wanting only to be close to Coleen. Though Coleen thought this was odd behavior, she went on with the rest of her day, with Nanook closely behind.

That night, as Coleen and her husband tried to rest, Nanook walked up to the bed and began to make a loud commotion. The dog was howling loudly and licking both Coleen and her husband's face, all while pacing the floor and scratching their bed. The loud barking was uncharacteristic which confused both Coleen and her husband. Thinking she needed to go outside, they let her out; however, she still would not settle down. As Coleen got out of the bed again, she felt a crushing feeling in her chest and a pain which radiated down her arm. Thinking it was indigestion, she soon realized that it was much. She was having a heart attack. Her husband immediately called 911 and she was rushed to the hospital. By 11:00 am that same morning, she underwent surgery to insert three stents into her heart.

As a nurse, Coleen was aware of heart attack symptoms and it seemed that Nanook was aware also. The Husky was able to sense that something was wrong earlier during the day. Coleen is convinced that if Nanook had not woken her that night, she probably would have had the heart attack in her sleep.

For her dedication to her owner, Nanook has been inducted into the Purina Animal Hall of Fame™ which "honors pets and service dogs for their extraordinary acts of heroism and bravery, which have saved human lives."

"For her to react that way, it was unbelievable," explains Coleen. "I would have went to sleep and thought nothing of it. It's like she was keeping me awake for a reason. I just thank God we got her. She is a beautiful dog and is here for a reason."