Paula Perone, 42, of Kansas City owes her life to her dog, a shelter dog named Sadie.

In June, Perone thought she had a migraine. She tried to sleep off the massive headache, but her 6-year-old Blue Healer Daschund mix wouldn't leave her alone, tugging on her nightgown and whining.

"I was lying down and my dog kept trying to get to my head," Perone told the Kansas City Star. "She was trembling."

Perone tried to push the dog away, but eventually her arm gave out. She knew someone was seriously wrong.

Sadie's persistent behaviour, which eventually made Perone realize that she was having a stroke, earned Sadie the American Stroke Association's Brain Saver Award.

"If it wasn't for her, I could have easily just gone to sleep and never woken up," Perone told the Kansas City Star. "By the time they performed surgery on me, I had already hemorrhaged. I already had bleeding on the brain."

"I still get goosebumps when I tell this story," Kathleen Henderson, stroke program coordinator at St. Joseph Medical Center, said. "If it hadn't been for Paula's dog Sadie, she probably wouldn't have come to the hospital. And if she hadn't come to the hospital, she likely would've been very disabled or possibly dead."

Perone adopted Sadie from Wayside Waifs, a no-kill rescue shelter, in 2007.

"We just connected," Perone said. "I know that sounds silly, but she seemed like the right dog for me."

Perone has recovered quickly from the stroke and hopes to be 100 per cent soon.

The moral to her story: "Never underestimate the loyalty of a best friend," she said.

Sadie joins the long list of heroic pets we've featured here, including a pit bull who saved her unconscious owner from an oncoming train, a rescue dog trained to detect a young boy's seizures, a poodle who saved her blind owner from a gas leak and a pit bull who saved his master's life twice.