Dogs have an uncanny ability to sense when something is amiss, a trait that has made them invaluable protectors and service animals for centuries.
This remarkable intuition was recently demonstrated by a 1-and-a-half-year-old Golden Retriever named Winston, who came to the aid of Tyler Howes, 29, when he was struggling with anemia-induced cold chills.
Brittney Bonfield, 29, shared the heartwarming story of Winston’s spontaneous act of compassion.
She explained that her boyfriend, Tyler, had been dealing with anemia for a few months, causing him to experience severe chills at night. No matter how many blankets or layers of clothing he piled on, he couldn’t shake the cold.
Winston’s Instinctive Response
In a touching video shared on their TikTok (@whata_bout_winston), the couple can be seen in their bedroom, with Tyler attempting to get warm under the covers.
Winston, seemingly aware of the situation, approached Tyler and placed his front paws on Tyler’s lap before curling beside him.
According to Bonfield, Winston’s instinctual response was nothing short of extraordinary.
She remarked, “As he got into bed, Winston immediately went to his side like he could sense something was wrong. It was like he was trying to ‘alert’ my boyfriend to what was going on. I know this is a common behavior for service dogs, but Winston has never been trained, so we were shocked that he knew what to do.”
Winston continued to provide comfort and warmth by lying on Tyler’s chest, a heartwarming display of empathy from a dog without formal training in service work. This act amazed many video viewers, though some couldn’t grasp the connection between anemia and feeling cold.
Anemia is a medical condition characterized by a deficiency of healthy red blood cells in the body, impairing the oxygen-carrying capacity of organs. It’s a widespread condition affecting around one-third of the global population, with an estimated 3 million cases in the United States alone. One common type is iron deficiency anemia, which often leads to cold sensations, fatigue, and weakness.
Bonfield revealed that Tyler is currently seeking medical treatment for his anemia, including a blood transfusion, which is expected to alleviate his symptoms significantly.
Impressed by Winston’s natural caregiving instincts, Bonfield envisions a future where Winston becomes a therapy dog. She expressed her goal of training him as a therapy dog and bringing him to hospitals for dog therapy programs once he matures.
The Path to Becoming a Therapy Dog
Training a dog to become a therapy dog involves certain criteria, including attaining adulthood (usually over a year old) and passing obedience tests, like the AKC Canine Good Citizen (CGC) test. Organizations that utilize therapy dogs expect them to interact kindly with people, especially children, and respond to various cues.
Many viewers on TikTok also shared their own touching stories of their dogs displaying similar intuitive behaviors.
One user recounted how their dog sensed a blood clot in their leg and wouldn’t leave their side, while another mentioned their Labrador’s ability to detect drops in their blood sugar levels.
These stories underscore the incredible bond between humans and their furry companions, demonstrating dogs’ invaluable role in our lives.