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Your Dog Can Literally Break Your Heart

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Parting with those big, doting eyes and furry, floppy ears can take its physical toll
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Simpson’s recently deceased pet was an adorable Yorkshire terrier, 9 years old and lively.

Joanie Simpson, a 61-year-old animal-lover, entered an emergency room last year complaining of severe chest pain. She was airlifted to a hospital in Houston, where hospital staff were notified to be prepared to treat the onset of a heart attack. But that wasn’t what Simpson was going through. She wasn’t suffering from a heart attack, she didn’t have a heart condition, and she wasn’t dealing with a bad case of heartburn.

The cause of her trauma was simple: Her dog had died. Simpson was later diagnosed with Takotsubo cardiomyopathy, or “broken heart syndrome,” an incredible condition wherein a person’s heart physically feels like it’s having a heart attack due to emotional turmoil. The condition, which has no other physical symptoms aside from the pain itself, can be fatal.

Simpson’s recently deceased pet was an adorable Yorkshire terrier, 9 years old and lively. Her name was Meha, and she was Simpson’s best friend. The dog, ironically, passed away due to congestive heart failure.

“I was close to inconsolable,” Simpson told The Washington Post. “I really took it really, really hard.”

Simpson explained that Meha had been like a daughter to her; when Simpson and her husband grilled on the weekends, Meha was cooked her own hamburger.

“The kids were grown and out of the house, so she was our little girl,” she reminisced.

Meha’s health had been declining for some time. Joanie Simpson’s health, on the other hand, had been in the clear. When the hospital conducted an X-ray to locate a potential clogged artery or coronary obstruction, her scan was flawless. The pain was her only symptom.

Simpson continues to take heart medication as a precaution, but has had no other episodes or cause for duress.

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