Life-saving dog is soon ‘on the phone’ to save owner

A North Devon dog who received his own “telephone” to summon help for his owner has wasted no time in using the life-saving gadget.

After the Gazette reported how trained assistance dog Edward saved owner Wendy Hilling when she stopped breathing in the night, the Yelland resident and her husband Peter decided a panic button system needed to be installed in case it happened again.

But no one expected Teddy would need to use the device, which connects directly to an emergency call centre, mere hours after it had been fitted.

The intelligent and adaptable Teddy, supplied by the Canine Partners charity, quickly mastered pressing the large emergency button on command – just as well, as Wendy explained:

“It happened again later that very evening, I couldn’t breath and Peter just yelled at him to press it, so he did,” said Wendy.

“Then Peter could talk to the ambulance while dealing with me. The condition is pretty scary, it just won’t let me breath.”

Wendy suffers from the rare skin condition EB, which can cause her airway to swell shut. Medical staff have recently determined her frequent breathing difficulties are down to a laryngospasm, when the throat closes through an involuntary muscular contraction.

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She told the Gazette the episode had not been as dire as the night when Teddy saved her life by waking Peter, but it was bad enough: “Peter called the ambulance because he said I was a funny colour,” said Wendy.

“Teddy had no problem with pressing the button – he thinks it’s a great game.”

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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