Dogs can be a part of the family as much as the humans we know and love can be. They like to play with us, they hog the bed like us, they beg for whatever we happen to be snacking on – even when their food bowl is full, and they are a part of some of our most cherished memories.
They even seem to know our personalities after a while. We definitely learn to love and appreciate theirs.
But sometimes, they do so much more than that. They know they are our protectors, and they look out for us, sometimes in some very unexpected ways.
Keola is one dog who definitely went above and beyond when it came to taking care of her human family.
This is her story.
Keola is an American Akita who lives with Alhanna and Ricky Butler in England. They raised her starting when she was a puppy and loved her with all their hearts. In return, she showed her loyalty and gave everything she had.
About the breed
American Akitas are known to be loyal, alert, and strong. They are cousins to the Japanese Akita, a breed that was originally used for hunting and protecting homes, which was something they did so well that they became a very popular breed in Japan.
Because of their popularity, Helen Keller herself decided to bring them to America in 1937. Eventually, due to differences in breeding practices in the two countries, the American version of the Akita would take on its own unique characteristics.
But enough about history…Let’s get back to Keola
Akitas rank very high in intelligence, being some of the smartest dogs out there. They’re also very suspicious of strangers. This is the combination that would lead to saving Alhanna’s life.
When something strange (although not actually a stranger, and no, not the baby either) was in the house, Keola instantly knew something was wrong and that her family needed to be warned about it before it was too late.
When Alhanna became pregnant, they were all excited about the new addition to their family, even Keola.
However, Keola’s keen instincts went further than noticing the baby moving in Alhanna’s belly. She could sense that there was something else going on as well, and it concerned her. It was also beginning to concern Alhanna.
Something was wrong
Alhanna had been doing everything she was supposed to during her pregnancy. She was taking her prenatal vitamins, getting exercise, and eating right for her baby.
Despite everything she was doing, her health was beginning to decline. At first, she didn’t notice because she thought it was a normal part of pregnancy – after all, carrying another human around inside of you for nine months isn’t exactly easy. It can tire out the best of us.
When Alhanna reached out to her doctor about an increasing pain in her back, the doctor also dismissed it as being a normal part of pregnancy. He thought it was due to a hormone that helps to loosen ligaments in preparation for childbirth, and he didn’t seem too concerned.
Alhanna went home from the doctor’s office without any real answers.
Thankfully, a certain very intelligent American Akita was waiting at home when she got there.
Sounding the alarm
Keola had been acting concerned and sniffing at Alhanna. When the woman returned from the doctor, the dog’s odd behavior only intensified. Keola would stare intensely and deeply at Alhanna, to the point that the couple felt that the dog was acting alarmingly strange.
It actually began to scare Alhanna.
She posted a picture of the staring dog on Facebook as a joke, but her friends didn’t take it that way. They thought the dog might be trying to tell Alhanna something. That just increased Alhanna’s level of concern.
An increased howl
As time went by, Keola would begin to nudge Alhanna, whimper, and eventually even howl. The dog was distraught.
Alhanna let that be the deciding factor and made another appointment to see her doctor. She didn’t think that the appointment would show anything abnormal, but she felt she needed to check on her baby to be sure.
A medical emergency
The doctor immediately realized that Alhanna had a rare double-kidney infection and was near death. She was rushed to the hospital for treatment. Her life was in danger, and so was the baby’s life. They did everything to treat her, but even that was an uphill battle because the infection had gone on for so long.
They said if she had waited even a day more that it might have been too late for any treatment to work.
Keola had saved her life.
A happy “tail” in the end
The doctors were eventually able to treat the rare double kidney infection, and Alhanna went on to carry her baby to term. She gave birth to a baby boy named Lincoln. Keola and Lincoln are now the best of friends, which makes sense.
After all, Keola saved the boy’s life before he was even born.
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