Sara Cognetta understood the recovery process of having open-heart surgery. She even purchased an electric reclining chair to provide comfort while she rested.
But after Frank Rosell, MD, director of cardiothoracic surgery at Staten Island University Hospital, performed the coronary artery bypass graft procedure and replaced a valve in her heart, she faced an unimaginable situation.
Alone at home, she maneuvered the chair in a position suitable to lie down. Somehow, it unplugged.
Stranded and too weak to move, Ms. Cognetta contemplated her escape. The phone was too far away. She wondered if a family member or friend would stop by.
Her only lifeline - her black labrador retriever, Holly.
"I said, 'Holly, get mommy the phone,'" she said. "I never trained her to do that, but she was the only one that could help. Before I knew it, the phone was on my lap."
Those who own pets, including dogs, know they have an innate ability to understand situations. Holly's shone through in this instance.
"Thank God the dog understood me. I would have been stuck there until someone came home," Ms. Cognetta said. "Holly's amazing. She alerts me if the phone rings, or if anything drops on the floor. If I dropped my therapy pillow, she would run over to pick it up for me. If she can pick it up, she will get it."