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Sunday, May 1, 2016

Man's best friend dubbed hero

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Photo/Tammy Curtis Richard Thomas pictured with his wife Faith Ann Holm and dog Wasichu, who saved his life July 4 when Thomas experienced a massive heart attack and Wasichu alerted his wife to his condition.
Dogs have long been considered man's best friend. Nothing could be more true than in the case of Richard Thomas's dog Wasichu, who recently saved his life when he experienced a massive heart attack at his home.

Wasichu, (pronounced Wah-see-choo) is a cross bred King Charles spaniel and American Eskimo Husky and very protective over his beloved owners.

On July 4, Thomas, a resident of rural Evening Shade, was tending his goats when he began to feel pain in his chest. Thomas said he went into the house, "And the big one hit." He said the pain was so severe that he immediately went down in what he believed to be a heart attack.

Thomas' wife Faith Ann Holm was in the yard mowing when Wasichu began barking nonstop, circling the mower and running back and forth up the stairs to their home. Holm said she thought he was just playing until the dog finally stopped in front of the mower so she could no longer mow. At this point she decided to see what Wasichu was "trying to tell" her.

Holm said she came into the house and saw her husband on the floor. She said because they live so far out in the country, they got in the car and headed to St. Bernard's in Jonesboro, rather than wait for an ambulance. At the hospital, Thomas underwent triple bypass surgery. He laughed when telling about one of the doctors who treated him, Dr. Smith, was from Poughkeepsie, just through the woods from their home.

The huge scar running down Thomas's chest, scars on his legs from the doctor's removing three veins and his oxygen tank may be visible reminders of his life altering event, but the important thing is that he is alive, thanks to Wasichu and his wife's driving skills.

Thomas could not give enough praise to the nurses, doctors and staff at St. Bernard's. He and Faith said they were treated better by them than they had ever been treated.

Thomas said he is known for his joking nature and said that during his 11 day stay he played a joke on one of the nurses that involved him putting two straws together and inserting them in his urinal. When the nurses came to his room, he told them, "This water tastes funny."

Despite what he has gone through, his healing process is going to be slow. He said the doctor said his ribs were like a "jigsaw puzzle," because he had all of his ribs broken at one time or another in his younger years.

When talking about Wasichu, Thomas said, "It will be a long time before I get mad at him again."

It is safe to say that Wasichu is definitely Thomas' best friend and his wife would have to agree, thanks to Wasichu she still has her husband in her life.

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