Man wasn’t sure he wanted to keep new puppy. Then wife wakes up to find dog doing unthinkable

December 23, 2017 12:57 pm Last Updated: December 23, 2017 12:57 pm

High-energy, rambunctious puppies can sometimes scare away even the most ardent dog lover—not to mention those who are on the fence about owning a pup. They require constant attention, exercise, and training. Welcoming a young dog into the home shouldn’t be taken lightly.

Earlier this year, Jim Cooper and his wife, Judy, were finding that their new puppy was quite a handful. But Judy still loved their new Australian Shepherd heeler-mix puppy, who she named Thibodeaux.

Jim wasn’t so sure. At 82 years old, Jim thought the new puppy might be more than he was willing to put up with. But after the way Thibodeaux performed in a crisis, she easily earned her place in the home forever.


Thibodeaux is a rambunctious Australian Shepherd heeler puppy that was adopted by Jim and Judy Cooper. She soon had made herself very comfortable in her new stomping grounds, successfully finishing crate training and graduating to sleeping on the bed with her owners.

If there were any objections to this from Jim, who was not too sure about the new dog, they were quickly put to rest after what happened all of a sudden in the middle of the night.

“I just heard whining,” Judy Cooper told KSL News. “It was 2:00am, and I thought [my husband] was having a nightmare.”


However, when Judy asked her husband a few questions, he didn’t answer. She became worried.

“So I turned on the light and I see Thibodeaux sitting on his chest. And she was looking down at him and whining,” Judy said.

Jim was having a stroke while he was in his sleep. Judy quickly called an ambulance, and Jim was rushed to the hospital.

“[The doctors] told us that many, many people never make it to the hospital,” Judy said.

Medical staff rushed to save Jim’s life, and when he woke up the next day, he didn’t remember a single moment of the dramatic ordeal.

“I don’t even remember. I couldn’t comprehend what was going on,” Jim said to KSL.

“Without [the dog], he wouldn’t have made it,” Judy Cooper said. “I guess I would have woke up the next morning and lost him.”


There are now no doubts whether Thibodeaux has found her forever home. Jim and the puppy have grown inseparable. It was a far-cry from the way he felt before the incident.

“Quite honestly, I was about to take her back the first week,” he said with a chuckle.

Thibodeaux is now a full year old, and local councilwoman Kristin Coleman-Nicholl presented her with a medal for her role in saving her master’s life.

According to KSL, It is the first time the Sandy, Utah City Council formally recognized a four-legged hero.

As Coleman-Nicholl put the medal around the pup’s neck, she jumped up and started licking her face. “There you go,” Coleman-Nicholl said as she laughed. The family can’t imagine their life without Thibodeaux now.

“She’s really special,” says Judy Cooper.

“She’s a good dog. She’s a member of the family. She’s a good girl,” said Jim, who is now singing a different tune when it comes to energetic young pups.