Gladwin County man thankful dog woke him up during heart attack

Published: Feb. 6, 2020 at 5:46 PM EST
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(2/6/2020) - A Gladwin County man says he wouldn't be alive today if it wasn't for his dog.

Ken Richter, 52, was sound asleep, but his dog was able to wake him up while he was suffering a heart attack. He's calling Cheyenne, a 6-year-old pit bull-Labrador mix, his hero.

"A lot of people don't like pit bulls. They are the most friendly, awesome family dog if they are trained right," Richter said.

It might have been training or perhaps the dog's instincts, but they're inseparable bond grew even stronger on Jan. 20. Richter was sound asleep around 2:30 a.m. when Cheyenne did something she had never done before.

"She just body slammed me," he said. "She never did anything like that. She just stood up and slammed right into my back and I have had surgery, so she knows not to mess with my back."

At first, he was upset that the 85-pound dog gave him the unexpected wake up call.

"I yelled at her, because I didn't know what she was doing, so she took off out of my bedroom and I woke up my chest was hurting so bad I could barely breathe," he said.

Richter said the pain wouldn't go away, so he eventually drove himself to the hospital in Gladwin.

"Within like 10 to 15 minutes, they come and said the ambulance was coming in to transport me to Midland already," he said. "No sooner than I got to Midland at 10:30 in the morning they put a stent in me."

Richter was having a heart attack when Cheyenne awoke him.

"They said it was a bad one. I had like 99 percent blockage in my left ventricle," he said.

Richter's doctor told him the dog most likely saved his life.

"You were probably in the middle of the heart attack when the dog did it," he said.

Richter has two children and another dog, Chunky-Monkey. He will turn 53 next month, a birthday he will celebrate thanks to Cheyenne.

"I don't think I would be here, my son, I have no idea where he would be now, because at the time I don't have a living will, but I have to get one going now," Richter said.