When Alhanna Butler was pregnant with her first child, her dog wouldn’t stop following her around and crying. At first, the mom-to-be found her pet’s attentiveness cute. However, she later discovered the animal was trying to warn her.
Alhanna and her husband Ricky come from Doncaster in England. The pair were childhood sweethearts, and after tying the knot the couple wanted to add to their family. So, first of all, they decided to get a dog.
However, they needed to decide which breed would best suit their family. After some research, they settled on getting an Akita, a smart breed that hails from Japan. The dogs are said to be quite protective of their owners. So, the Butlers knew it was the breed for them.
To get the ball rolling, the couple went to view an Akita puppy at a local breeder in 2014. They were originally keen on a male dog, but it was that dog’s sister who won their hearts. According to Alhanna and Ricky, the loveable pup “chose them.” So, they named her Keola, and headed out with a new member of the family.
Keola soon fitted right in. And after acting as mom and dad to their beloved dog for eight months, Alhanna and Ricky decided to expand their brood once more. However, they didn’t have much luck trying to conceive a baby.
Detailing their frustration, Alhanna told the Mirror in 2016, “We did test after test but with no luck. They just kept coming up negative.” In the end, the couple grew impatient. “One day I had binned a negative test and gone out shopping,” she explained.
However, while they were out, their dog did some digging. “When we returned, Keola had gone through the bin and had got the pregnancy test out of the bin,” Alhanna revealed. “She had never touched the bins before so it was very odd.
Alhanna added, “She was sat with it in front of her like she was trying to tell us something.” So, presumably just to humor her dog, Alhanna reexamined the test. “I grabbed it and saw a faint second line. I couldn’t believe it,” she said.
However, the faintness of the line didn’t convince Ricky. As a result, the very next day, Alhanna purchased a more sophisticated pregnancy test. This one confirmed that she was two weeks pregnant – a fact Keola seemed all too aware of.
Alhanna must have been excited to surprise Ricky with the wonderful news. And it only seemed right that Keola should be part of the big announcement. So, Alhanna informed Ricky by tying a handwritten note to the dog’s collar and sending her to him.
The news went down well, and it soon began to sink in that Alhanna and Ricky were about to become parents. “We were both over the moon and we realised that Keola was truly a special dog who could detect things that we couldn’t,” Alhanna said.
Throughout Alhanna’s pregnancy, Keola stuck by her side. When the expectant mom started to get sick at 18 weeks the dog even accompanied her to the bathroom to throw up. And that wasn’t the only way Keola was there for her master.
As Alhanna’s pregnancy progressed, she grew increasingly sick and also suffered from back pain. Eventually, she decided to visit her midwife to see if there was a problem. However, the nurse told her that her discomfort was simply her small frame adjusting to pregnancy.
Accepting her midwife’s explanation, Alhanna returned home. That’s when Keola started behaving strangely. “She would nudge me and cry and I could never figure out why she had suddenly started doing this. Ricky said she was distraught whenever I went to work, when she had never minded before,” the mom-to-be revealed.
As time passed, Keola continued to stare at Alhanna and cry. Presumably bemused, she decided to share a photo of her dog watching over her online. However, when Alhanna’s mom saw the image, she didn’t find it cute or funny.
The soon-to-be-mom revealed, “My [mom] phoned and said, ‘listen to your dog, she is trying to tell you something.’ It turns out she was absolutely right – and she saved our lives. She is the most amazing dog and I owe her my life.”
Upon her mom’s advice, Alhanna went to the hospital. However, when she arrived she collapsed on the floor. Alhanna came so close to dying, doctors rushed her to intensive care. There, a medical team diagnosed her with a double kidney infection and an antibiotic-resistant bug.
Thankfully, after four weeks of intensive treatment, doctors were able to save Alhanna’s life. However, they told her that if she’d put off coming to the hospital any later, she might have died. So, she had Keola to thank for persistently warning her.
Revealing her gratitude to her dog, Alhanna said, “It was incredible. She knew I was seriously ill when no one else did and she made sure she told me.” She added, “I now know Keola was definitely trying to tell me something was wrong. I just wish I had listened to her sooner.”
Later, Alhanna and Rocky welcomed a little boy named Lincoln. And Keola continued to watch over him. “I completely trust her around Lincoln. She loved him before any of us did – it was her who knew about him first. She loved him before he even knew she existed,” Alhanna said.