Joanie Simpson's heart simply couldn't bear the ordeal of losing her nine-year-old terrier
The 62-year-old Joanie Simpson had other things on her mind, of course: one of her sons was awaiting back surgery, her son-in-law lost her job and she was also weighed down by a tricky real estate case. However, the last straw was the death of Meha, the 9-year-old Yorkshire terrier. According to her own admission, the dog was already considered more of a family member, Joanie's daughter, and the trauma associated with its loss was simply unbearable for the then 61-year-old woman's heart. The Washington Post wrote about the case, which has since been officially attributed to broken heart syndrome, with consequences similar to the symptoms of a heart attack.
Incidentally, what happened to Joanie was published in the New England Journal of Medicine in the form of a case study, because according to the cardiologists, the "crystal clear" arteries did not look at all as expected in the case of the lady transported to the hospital by helicopter.
Joanie became ill not long after the long-ill terrier died. The old lady, complaining of chest and back pains, was transported to Houston, where doctors prepared to treat her for a classic heart attack. However, Joanie's arteries were all clear, and doctors concluded after examining the patient that the phenomenon known as takotsubo or broken heart syndrome, first described in 1991, was behind it. The phenomenon is caused by a traumatic event with a sudden increase in the level of stress hormones and causes symptoms similar to a heart attack. It could be the loss of a relative or a loved one, a sudden and physically demanding event (e.g. a car accident), or even after a particularly traumatic breakup.
In general, it is not surprising, just like people living in bad relationships, owners who take care of long-term ill pets are also under a lot of stress, and in some cases this can apparently lead to someone's heart breaking in the strict sense of the word. Joanie, who has been "inconsolable" for a long time by her own admission, is nevertheless sure that she will have another dog. "A heartbreaking and traumatic experience." said Joanie. "But we can get so much love and joy from them that it's still worth it."