Louie, a friendly, loving and normally quiet family dog, started barking non-stop from the bedroom upstairs. When his owner investigated he found his pregnant wife, in the middle of a seizure.
Louie has got into trouble in the past for jumping up on the furniture. However, this time it is a good thing he did, as he saved not only Janelle Giannetta's life, but also that of her unborn baby.
Janelle's husband, Richard Giannetta, became alarmed when he heard Louie barking incessantly upstairs in the room where his wife Janelle was sleeping.
“I heard the dog barking like crazy, like I’ve never heard him bark before,” he said. On entering the bedroom he found Louie on the bed, barking at Janelle. “Just an agitated bark like something was wrong. I could just tell.”
When Richard turned his wife over, he found that she was in the middle of a seizure and was foaming at the mouth.
Richard immediately phoned 911 and Janelle, who was 26 weeks pregnant, was immediately rushed to Nassau University Medical Center. Paramedics said that they had trouble pulling Louie away to take her to hospital.
Doctors diagnosed Janelle with eclampsia, a potentially deadly condition which causes seizures due to very high blood pressure and which can sometimes lead to a stroke. Reportedly eclampsia occurs in one in every 2,000 births.
Janelle immediately underwent a Caesarean section to save the baby, Charlotte Marie, who weighed a mere 1 pound 7 ounces.
In the video, Dr Peter Hong explains that usually there are warning signs of Eclampsia, but that often those signs are mistaken for just being part of the pregnancy itself.
In the case of Janelle, the doctor said that her blood pressure was so elevated that a stroke was possible and the only safe action was to deliver the baby.
Baby Charlotte Marie will be in neonatal intensive care until around July and while Richard and Janelle thanked Dr Hong and his staff for their care, the doctor told them that Louie is the real hero. “If not for the dog’s barking, she could have had one seizure after another, after another…and she would have gotten care a lot later, and that would have made my job much harder.”
Naturally there are plans underway for Louie to be spoiled in gratitude. “Steak…whatever he wants he can have,” said Richard. “He’ll definitely get a lot of bones. We’re lucky to have an eager, rambunctious 1-year-old pup.”