SHELBY TWP. (WWJ) – When the Michigan Humane Society (MHS) promotes its In-Home Heroes foster volunteer program, the animal welfare organization enthusiastically shares its gratitude for those dedicated volunteers who help MHS save animal lives every day.

But on one day in early March, the hero was Joleen, a 2-year-old pug/beagle-mix, who is credited with saving the life of her foster mom, Mary-Louise Klatt of Shelby Township, after she suffered a heart attack.

READ MORE: Michigan Matters: Theaters & Politics

Joleen’s barking and running back-and-forth in the house alerted Klatt’s step-son that something was wrong, so he could call for emergency help. “And she kept licking my face, trying to wake me up,” Klatt said. “She’s my angel!”

Klatt, who began fostering animals for MHS in August 2012, had been caring for Joleen since November, when the homeless dog and her three tiny puppies came to the MHS Detroit Center for Animal Care through its Rescue Department.

In January, the puppies were old enough for adoption, and soon found loving homes. But Joleen needed additional time to recover from nursing the pups before being spayed and going up for adoption, so she remained with Klatt for several more weeks. During this time, Klatt suffered the heart attack.

READ MORE: CDC: New Listeria Outbreak Tied To 23 Illnesses, 1 Death

Following her release from the hospital, Klatt couldn’t help but adopt the dog. Joleen officially became family in late March.

“We always talk about how pets give back more than they take, but this is an even more dramatic example of how pets affect our lives,” Jamahl Scott, MHS Volunteer Programs Manager, said in a statement. “We are so glad Joleen was there when she was needed.”

In-Home Heroes is the Michigan Humane Society’s short-term foster care program. Volunteers in the program help MHS save lives by providing additional time and TLC to dogs, cats, puppies, kittens, rabbits and other animals who are not yet ready to go up for adoption. In 2012, MHS In-Home Heroes helped change more than 2,000 animal lives.

MORE NEWS: Red Wings Hire Lightning Assistant Derek Lalonde As Coach

“In most cases, foster animals only need to stay with one of our dedicated In-Home Heroes for a few weeks, but sometimes the stay is longer,” Scott said. “In this case, that extended stay was something we are all incredibly thankful for.”