Teamwork Online
Teamwork Online
Cupcake: good for Don's heart

When they first met, "Cupcake" didn't like Don Laughry. However, the black labrador retriever apparently recognized Don needed his help and “adopted” the 70-year-old Vietnam Veteran from Coldwater. Cupcake found a purpose for her life–helping Don cope both physically and emotionally with his his life-long heart disease–in tandem with Borgess cardiologist Robert LaPenna, MD.

“Cupcake can sense when I’m having a serious heart problem,” Don said. “She puts her head on
my chest and stares into my face. Her persistence has caused me to seek medical attention when
I’ve really needed intervention.”

Don Laughry was first diagnosed with severe heart disease when he was just 32-years-old. He has received multiple cardiac stents and other treatment at Borgess Medical Center.

“For the past 10 years, Cupcake has been my guardian angel,” Don said. “She always pays attention
to my every move and stays by my side. She seems to understand everything.”

Dr. LaPenna readily admits he hasn’t seen anything quite like this in more than 30 years of medical

“Most dog or cat owners recognize the amazing qualities of their pet,” said Dr. LaPenna. “Dogs
have been associated with detecting some cancers and low blood-sugar levels with diabetics. And doctors can’t explain it, but dogs have also been reported to help epilepsy patients by predicting
oncoming seizures.

“We may not be able to scientifically substantiate every unusual medical situation,” said Dr. LaPenna, “but the love and comfort provided by most pets can be physically and mentally priceless to patients. Some pets also appear to have a sixth sense.”

“I would never had made it this far in my life without Cupcake,” Don said. “She calms my nerves and settles me down. Cupcake has won my heart and saved my heart.”

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