HALIFAX -- Brad Miller from Hammonds Plains, N.S., has Brugada Syndrome, a genetic disorder that can cause a dangerous, irregular heartbeat.

He didn't know he had the condition, and probably wouldn't have survived it, if it weren't for his wife -- and his two-year-old Golden Doodle dog.

The dog, named Novie -- a portmanteau of Newfoundland and Nova Scotia, where his owners are each from -- just reunited with Miller after an extended hospital stay.

Novie dog

Novie jumps up after being reunited with Brad. Brad just got home after spending a couple weeks in hospital from his newly discovered heart condition. (Photo: Bruce Frisko)

"I'm very happy to be here after hearing the story of everything," says Miller. "It still puzzles my mind that it happened."

On Nov. 19, Brad and his wife Brianne went to bed, with Novie taking her usual spot on the bed.

In the middle of the night, Brad went into cardiac arrest. Brianne was asleep, and Novie jumped into action.

"She's the one who woke me up and alerted me that something was wrong," said Brianne. "And I could tell right away that something was very, very wrong. Had it not been for her, we might not have had the same ending that we have right now."

Brianne quickly called 911. The dispatcher coached her through performing CPR on her husband while she waited for paramedics. She had been trained in CPR years ago, but like many, never thought she'd use it.


"It's extraordinarily lucky," says Brad's cardiologist, Dr. Ciorsti MacIntyre.

MacIntyre says only five or 10 per cent of people who go into cardiac arrest outside of a hospital will survive with a good outcome. "Brad should have bought a lotto ticket that day," she says.

"So, to survive having a cardiac arrest in your sleep is where the stars really align," she says. "For somebody to, very quickly, realize that something's wrong and respond appropriately – I can't even give you a number for that because it's incredibly uncommon."

None of this is lost on Brad or Brianne, who know how fortunate they are.

But according to Brad, luck doesn't have everything to do with it.

"Everybody should learn their first-aid, CPR," he said. "It's an essential thing. You never know when someone may need it."

Brianne agrees that CPR training deserves some credit.

"I used to joke that I was not the kind of person you'd want in an emergency, because I wouldn't know what to do," she says. "And if it (the CPR training) hadn't been back there somewhere, I don't think it would have been nearly as effective."

Since Brugada Syndrome can be hereditary, Brad's family members are also being tested for the disorder.

Brianne says she's incredibly thankful for everyone who helped care for Brad that night – from Novie, to her brother-in-law Iain, who helped a lot while waiting for the ambulance.