Hospice Nurse Says Pooch's Lick Saved Her Life
"When Jacque started licking my head, the old hospice nurse in me said, 'Uh-oh,' " Phillips, a 56-year-old patient care supervisor at BJC Hospice, tells PEOPLE Pets. Her inkling about the pooch's animal instinct was right: She was subsequently diagnosed with a walnut-sized brain aneurysm.
Phillips says her experience with dying patients told her that animals "know that something is wrong" and that Jacque-Pierre was definitely upset. "You could tell. He was dancing around the office and he just kept licking me," she explains. If not for the dog's insistence confirming her coworkers' concerns, Phillips says she would have likely driven home, gone to bed "and died – because [the aneurysm] was leaking at that point into my head."
The dog's behavior stood out even more because Phillips isn't a dog person, says his owner, Pat Harlan (above), a 76-year-old triage nurse. "He has certain nurses that he loves to go to because they always have a little nibble for him," Harlan says. But when he gets to Phillips' office, he doesn't stay because "she doesn't love dogs that way."
Since he was credited with saving her life, the pup has resumed pop-in visits with Phillips, who fully recovered and returned to work after recovering for two months. "I could lay down on the floor today. He might come over and sniff me," says Phillips, "but he'd be off if I didn't have something to feed him."
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