A Florida man has suffered a stroke. His German Shepherd may have saved his life

The attack came suddenly. He didn’t remember falling, but the bump later seen on his head was evidence of his collapse. His wife was two hours away, so he was home alone and vulnerable.

The family’s 7-year-old Sable German Shepherd, Ellie, asked for help. Suffering from a hereditary condition that can cause joint pain and lameness, the dog opened no less than three door latches on his own before hopping like a kangaroo towards a neighbour’s nearby house, barking furiously to entice attention.

Neighbor Dan Burton, 51, of Gainesville, drove the agitated Ellie back to her landlord, realized the medical crisis unfolding and dialed 911.

Melissa Hernandez de la Cruz


Fresh Take Florida

Now recovered from his stroke, Lothar Weimann, 68, greets his two German Shepherds, Willy, left, and Ellie, right, in the kitchen of his home in Gainesville, Fla., September 16, 2021.

“His dog was out, and I was bringing them home, and he just walked out,” Burton told the dispatcher, according to a recording obtained from the 911 call. doesn’t know my name. It’s almost like, you know, some kind of stroke.”

Ellie’s owner, Lothar Weimann, 68, struggled to speak. He protested that he felt fine, not acknowledging the life or death stakes he was going through. “He’s walking around, I’m trying to get him to sit down,” Burton told the dispatcher on the call. “I think he took a fall.”

In an interview, Burton recalled the scene, “It didn’t take long to visually see something was wrong.”

The case of the very good girl who may have saved her owner’s life in North Central Florida is the latest story of canine heroism demonstrating the special bond between our dogs and their owners. Behavioral experts have said that some breeds can detect subtle fluctuations in blood pressure or other physiological changes, but the true nature of dogs that turn into heroes is an enduring mystery.

“It just shows this very complex, deep relationship that we can have with dogs, that they can literally look at us and smell our scent and say, ‘Well, that’s different,'” Ocala’s Stephanie Roberts said. , Florida, owner of Procyon Training LLC and shelter manager for the Humane Society of Marion County. “I think it’s amazing.”

In the Florida case, which occurred on the morning of May 27, the 911 dispatcher told Burton to have Weimann smile, raise both arms in front of him, and repeat the phrase “the early riser catch the worm”. Burton said that even through his neighbor’s German accent, he heard him twist the sentence.

Willy, left, and Ellie, right, play in the backyard.  Ellie chews a stick

Melissa Hernandez de la Cruz


Fresh Take Florida

Willy, left, and Ellie, right, play in the Gainesville, Florida backyard of owner Lothar Weimann on September 16, 2021.

Ironically – for the safety of the paramedics en route – the dispatcher ordered Burton to lock up Weimann’s dogs before they arrived.

Forty minutes after the stroke, a rescue truck drove through the neighborhood. Weimann boarded the ambulance himself, leaving behind Ellie and another shepherd, Willy. The rescue team’s concise notes on the official emergency run records described the situation as “one man, aware, breathing”.

091621 A dog saves a man 02 MH.JPG

Melissa Hernandez de la Cruz


Fresh Take Florida

Ellie appears in the backyard of the Gainesville, Florida home of owner Lothar Weimann on September 16, 2021.

He was at the hospital 16 minutes later.

Four months later and now out of hospital, Weimann said doctors confirmed he had suffered a stroke. While in treatment, she was diagnosed with heart problems and type 2 diabetes, common in older people and managed by losing weight, exercising and eating well. Weimann said he lost 25 pounds after his ordeal.

Looking back, he remembers coughing and having a fever that day, possible precursors to his stroke.

Weimann, a driver for an airport rental car company and a former professional dog trainer, said Ellie and Willy consider him the leader of their pack. Interviewed at his home, he said life had been unrecognizable since his stroke and he was still recovering, struggling to use his desktop computer or to keep his balance enough to walk his beloved dogs.

But he was alive, thanks to Ellie.

“A dog is always a very honest, very real type of character, Weimann said. “I will always say that dogs are the best humans. It’s good to have them. If you have a dog, you have a companion for life.”

This story was produced by Fresh Take Florida, a news service of the University of Florida College of Journalism and Communication. Journalists can be reached at [email protected] and mhernandezdlc@freshtakeflorida.com

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