When Shauna Darcy first got Ruby, she got her as a service dog to help her cope with her anxiety, depression, and agoraphobia. From the very beginning, Ruby proved to be a wonderful service dog and companion – and it was clear there was no limit to Ruby’s devotion.
Shauna said to The Dodo, “While she was training to be a service dog I noticed that she started picking up on changes in my heart rate and would act funny — for example, paw at me, try to get my attention, get on top of me, etc.”
Choosing to listen to Ruby’s cues, Shauna went to see a doctor and quickly learned that she was experiencing health issues she hadn’t known about, including a rare heart condition called vascular Ehlers-Danlos syndrome. Ruby had already known something was wrong even before Shauna did, and as a service dog, she quickly switched focus to Shauna’s cardiac issues.
Every day, Ruby helps her with things like monitoring her heart rate and blood pressure, assisting her during panic attacks, as well as retrieving emergency medications. Ruby also carries groceries, picks up dropped items and gets things for Shauna that she can’t reach. Ruby is even trained in deep pressure therapy!
“When I pass out she gets on top of me and applies all her pressure on me and licks my hands and face until I come around,” Shauna said.
Ruby is there for her round the clock – even when Shauna doesn’t realize she needs her.
Last week, when Ruby started alerting her that something was wrong, she had no idea why. Shauna was feeling fine but chose to trust Ruby and call an ambulance – just in case.
“It turns out my heart was going into atrial fibrillation,” she said. “By the time the paramedics came, I was in pain and barely conscious.”
As the paramedics rushed her to the hospital, it dawned on her that Ruby had just saved her life.
While Shauna was in the hospital and the doctors worked to stabilize her, Ruby refused to leave her side. Even while she was unconscious, Ruby lay in her hospital bed, pressed up against her, hoping Shauna could sense she was there and that she would feel safe.
During their hospital stay, lots of people stopped by to meet Ruby. She’s always very popular whenever she and Shauna go – but always sticks close to Shauna’s side, as she loves her so much. And Shauna loves her right back.
Without Ruby, Shauna’s life would be very different. Ruby helps to keep her healthy and safe every day, and Shauna couldn’t be more grateful for Ruby’s love and loyalty.
“I wouldn’t be alive without her,” she said.
You can follow Ruby and Shauna on their Instagram account.