By Mike Pearson, News staff
Anita Maisonville wasn’t planning to take Cosmo for a walk that afternoon. But the 12-year-old black lab and border collie cross had other ideas.
“He gives me a special look, and I feel guilty,” said Maisonville, a resident of First Street North in Stoney Creek.
Maisonville, a letter carrier, is accustomed to walking. She usually takes Cosmo for an hour-long morning jaunt.
On many occasions, Anita and Cosmo visit their friends Glenda and John Dailey. Cosmo always gets a treat when he stops by. But on July 27, Anita took Cosmo in a different direction. After all, she knew Glenda was attending a baby shower, and there was likely no one home anyway. Anita was half way up her own driveway, a few doors from the Dailey residence, when she noticed Cosmo refused to follow her. The promise of a tasty treat still wasn’t enough to get the dog to obey his owner’s command.
Maisonville followed Cosmo to the Dailey residence and noticed the front door was open. On any normal day, Cosmo would enter the home without hesitation. He could always count on getting a treat. But on this day he put his two front paws on the doorstep and refused to go any further. Maisonville urged him inside, to no avail. Something was clearly wrong.
Maisonville entered the home and found Glenda curled up in the fetal position with her head on the floor. She was unresponsive and had a grayish blue complexion.
Instantly, Maisonville called 9-11. A dispatcher told Maisonville to turn Dailey on her side. Maisonville has training in CPR, but in that moment, she was frozen with anxiety. Luckily, Hamilton EMS staff arrived on the scene five minutes later. Dailey still had a pulse, but just barely.
It was later determined that a mucous plug had blocked Dailey’s oxygen supply. It was just after 5 p.m. and Dailey had just received a ride home from the shower with from her niece. Dailey has asthma and may have been reaching for her puffer in the moments before she lost consciousness.
She recalls checking the time on her stove clock, but remembers nothing from the next five days.
Dailey was taken to Hamilton General Hospital and St. Joseph’s Hospital, where she spent more than three days in a medically induced coma and two more days in recovery.
“They said my carbon dioxide levels were off the chart,” said Dailey.
If Cosmo had not led Maisonville to Dailey’s home that day, this story would not have a happy ending.
First Street North is clearly a close-knit neighbourhood. During a 45-minute visit by a reporter, a half dozen guests offer a passing wave or a friendly visit. But the bond between Maisonville and the Daileys is a particularly special one. Nearly five years ago, Maisonville’s 18-year-old son was involved in a serious car accident. Another driver had fallen asleep at the wheel. Dailey’s daughter a friend of Evan, but until that time, the families weren’t that well known to each other.
For more than three weeks, Anita and other family members spent full days visiting Evan in the hospital. Hoping to help, Glenda prepared home cooked meals for Maisonville, so she wouldn’t have to worry about cooking when she arrived home. Sadly, Evan succumbed to his injuries. But a friendship became galvanized.
It’s hard to guess what led Cosmo to the Dailey home that day. Maybe he possessed some innate ability to sense something was wrong. Maybe Evan had something to do with it.
Cosmo seems to know whenever Maisonville is feeling down. He rests his head in her lap to comfort her. Cosmo was Evan’s dog first, and the two practically grew up together.
“I’m just glad he decided he wanted to go for a walk that day,” said Dailey.
When a flurry of EMS, fire trucks and police cruisers rushed to the scene, Cosmo stayed put on the front lawn, well out of the way. His job was already done.
To thank Cosmo for his heroic act, John drove to St. Catharines to buy the biggest bone he could find.
Not-to-be overlooked is the quick work of medical professionals who helped Dailey make a full recovery.
“I have nothing but praise for all of those doctors and nurses,” she said.