SANDY — Without his dog, Jim Cooper probably wouldn't be alive today.
The 82-year-old credits his 7-month-old puppy with saving his life when she woke his wife to alert her that something was very wrong.
"I don't even remember," Cooper told KSL News Tuesday. "I couldn't comprehend what was going on."
His wife, Judy, will never forget.
"I just heard whining," Judy Cooper said. "It was 2 a.m., and I thought he was having a nightmare."
He wasn't. In his sleep, Jim was having a stroke.
"I asked him a couple questions, and he didn't answer me, 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.
Thibodeaux, the couple's Australian Shepherd heeler-mix puppy, fortuitously had just finished crate training and graduated to sleeping in the bed.
"Yep, she's on all fours just sitting on his chest looking down at him and crying," Judy Cooper said.
Jim Cooper was rushed to the hospital, where doctors worked to save his life.
"(The doctors) told us that many, many people never make it to the hospital," Judy Cooper said.
When Jim Cooper woke up, he heard the whole story from his wife.
"Quite honestly, I was about to take her back the first week," he said with a chuckle.
He's glad he didn't.
"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."
After spending a couple days in the hospital, Jim Cooper was continuing his recovery at his Sandy home. And Thibodeaux? Well, she's cemented her place in the Cooper household for good.
"She's a good dog," Jim said while petting her. "She's a member of the family, and she's a good girl."
Contributing: Jordan Ormond