Last Friday Janelle Giannetta’s dog Louie saved not only her life, but that of her unborn baby.
Louie is typically a loving, friendly goldendoodle not known to bark a lot. Richard Giannetta became alarmed when he heard Louie barking nonstop from the bedroom upstairs where his wife Janelle was sleeping. “I heard the dog barking like crazy, like I’ve never heard him bark before,” said Richard. When he came into 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 Janelle over she was in the midst of a seizure and foaming at the mouth.
Richard quickly phoned 911 and Janelle, who was 26 weeks pregnant, was rushed to Nassau University Medical Center where she was diagnosed with eclampsia and had an emergency Caesarean section to save the baby. Eclampsia is a potentially deadly condition that causes seizures due to extremely high blood pressure and in some cases lead to a stroke. It develops in one of every 2,000 births.
Dr. Peter Hong who treated Janelle says that usually there are warning signs of eclampsia but sometimes those signs are mistaken for just being part of the pregnancy in itself. He said Janelle’s blood pressure was so elevated that a stroke was possible. The only way to “cure” the condition is for the baby to be delivered. So Dr. Hong delivered Charlotte Marie, who weighed only 1 pound 7 ounces.
Charlotte Marie will be in neonatal intensive care until around July. While Richard and Janelle thanked and were grateful for Dr. Hong and his staff’s care, Dr. Hong says 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.”
Richard and Janelle are just as grateful for their puppy and plan to spoil him 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 one-year-old pup.”