Nanook

ST. CATHARINES, ONTARIO

Nanook is a cheerful and energetic Siberian Husky cross that Coleen Kilby received as a Christmas gift from her husband who was often out of town. Nanook was to serve as Coleen’s companion, but little did she know that Nanook would also help save her life.

One day in May 2011, Coleen noticed Nanook acting very possessive, following her around the house all day, never leaving her side. Nanook wasn’t interested in playing; she wanted to continually be close to Coleen for no apparent reason. Though Coleen thought this was very odd behavior of Nanook, she carried on with the rest of her day. 

Later that night, at around 3 a.m., Nanook approached Coleen’s bed where she and her husband were sleeping, and began causing a commotion to wake them both up. Nanook was howling, licking Coleen and her husband’s faces, as well as pacing around and scratching their bed. Nanook was also barking loudly – which was very uncharacteristic of her. Confused by Nanook’s behaviour, Coleen’s husband Gord got up to take Nanook outside to go to the bathroom several times, but each time they returned to the bedroom, Nanook refused to settle down, continuing to cause a frenzy. In the meantime, Coleen also got up out of bed and suddenly felt a crushing feeling in her chest and a gnawing pain radiate up her arm. After initially dismissing the pain as indigestion, Coleen soon realized that it was much worse – she may be having a heart attack. Terrified, Gord immediately called an ambulance and paramedics then took Coleen to the hospital shortly afterwards. By 11a.m. that same morning, Coleen had undergone surgery to insert three stents – or artificial tubes – into her heart, to alleviate severe blockages in her arteries.

As a nurse, Coleen is aware of heart attack symptoms, but that night, Nanook was able to sense that something was wrong much earlier than she could. If it wasn’t for Nanook’s keen intuition and persistence, Coleen knows she could have had that heart attack in her sleep and not be here today. For this reason, Coleen is grateful for each new day in her life and especially that Nanook, her true hero, shares each day with her.

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