Firm friends forever

Shadow and Lorenzo Devincentis.
Shadow and Lorenzo Devincentis.

Mr Devincentis was admitted to Fiona Stanley Hospital in November last year with a condition known as staphylococcus aureus which can lead to serious infection.

The condition affected his heart and he ended up in emergency surgery to have a valve in his heart replaced.

A few weeks later, on December 29, Mr Devincentis suffered a major stroke and he was re-admitted to hospital.

He remained in hospital following complications with his abdomen and lymph nodes.

His best friend Shadow, a four-year-old great dane, was at home in a glum state not knowing where his owner was.

In an odd coincidence, Shadow was also suffering from a disease known as dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) which is characterised by an enlarged heart.

He was only expected to live for six to eight months, but by the time Mr Devincentis went into hospital he had already survived a seizure and had outlived his prognosis by two months.

Mr Devincentis’ daughter Laura Devincentis said Shadow had not been the same since her dad left for hospital and her father in turn was worried about Shadow.

So she decided to do something about it.

“On January 12, I gathered up the dog in the car and drove to Fiona Stanley Hospital,” she said.

“I rang my father who had just been taken off his heart monitor and I told him I was downstairs with a special visitor.”

Ms Devincentis said she waited patiently with Shadow for a good 15 to 20 minutes as her father came down the hospital stairs.

The dog and owner lit up with joy when they saw each other again and their reunion didn’t leave a dry eye in the house.

Mr Devincentis, who has since been discharged from hospital, said the doctors weren’t keen for him to leave the ward, but nothing was going to stop him.

“I knew who it was as soon as Laura said I had a special visitor,” he said.

“Shadow means everything to me. I bred him from a puppy – it was so revitalising to see him again, especially as he is already on borrowed time.”

“I can tell you what the best recovery is – a reunion with your best mate.

“You never forget the loyal friend you’ll have for life with a dog.”