Dog saves owner’s life

Edward the wonder dog leapt into action when his Yelland owner stopped breathing

A heroic canine companion has been praised by his Yelland owner after saving her life once again.

When Wendy Hilling stopped breathing in her sleep on Thursday night it was left to golden retriever Edward to wake both her and then husband Peter as she battled to draw in a breath.

It was terrifying but such episodes are nothing new for Wendy, who suffers from the rare skin condition EB, or the highly trained assistance dog provided by the Canine Partners charity.

Last November Teddy cheated death for Wendy after she collapsed in the kitchen, letting himself out of the house and racing into the garden to find Peter.

But Thursday proved the most frightening incident so far for all of them, including the dog, because although he had done his job Wendy still couldn’t breath.

Now the couple are going to get a panic button system installed so Teddy can be trained to raise the alarm and call for an ambulance at the same time, allowing Peter to devote his attention to getting Wendy breathing again.

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“I have never been so frightened in my life, I was fighting to breath and it was just like a whooping cough, a dreadful noise,” said Wendy of their ordeal.

“I hadn’t been very good for a few days and when we went to bed that night Teddy climbed on and wouldn’t get off again, which he never does – he knew something was wrong and that should have warned me.

“I think he is a life saver, without him Peter would have to stay awake all night, which he did before Teddy arrived.”

Peter added: “I came to with Teddy nudging and pawing at me. Wendy was trying to gasp in air and that was quite frightening.

“I propped her up with a pillow and tried to get her breathing but I really couldn’t try and call for an ambulance at the same time.”

Wendy has a chronic condition which causes blisters and open wounds when her skin receives the slightest knock or touch. It also affects internal tissues and when she lies down, stomach acid can rise and cause her airway to swell shut. Her throat is smaller than a five pence piece and it takes very little to block it.

Together with his life saving duties, Teddy assists Wendy in dozens of crucial ways, from helping her undress and take shoes off to loading and unloading the washing machine, handing her bus pass to drivers and even taking money out of a cash point.

“I don’t know what we would do without him,” said Wendy.

“The frustrating thing is I can’t tell him what he’s done - he doesn’t know he has just saved your life.”

To find out more about the work of the Canine Partners charity or how you could help, call 08456 580480 or visit

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