A HEROIC rescue dog saved its blind owner’s life by lying across his unconscious body and howling and barking in Southampton.
Charlie, a two-year-old Staffordshire Bull Terrier, raised the alarm when his owner John Hockaday, 52, collapsed.
Paramedics said that if Mr Hockaday – who is blind and diabetic – had been lying on the floor for another five minutes, he would have died.
The dog “doesn’t usually bark” and “never howls” but its natural instinct kicked in when it saw its diabetic owner fall in the living room.
He rushed over to Mr Hockaday before lying across his body – which had dropped in temperature from its normal 36 degrees celsius to just 30.
The quick-thinking canine licked his face, howled and barked gaining the attention of Mr Hockaday’s 24-year-old son Clint who was walking past their home in Southampton.
After hearing the howling, Clint knew something was wrong and went inside, as the door was on the latch.
Clint immediately rang his mother Doreen who had popped into the city centre.
When she left her husband at 1.30pm, he had a normal sugar level reading of ninel. But after just 60 minutes, his sugar level had plummeted to just one, which caused him to collapse on the floor.
Full-time carer Doreen, 44, said: “I left some food on the side just in case he got hungry and he thought his sugar level was getting too low.
“When we were on our way back, Clint phoned us and was crying saying ‘Dad has collapsed on the floor and I can’t wake him up’.
“I got my daughter to phone the ambulance, who were there when we arrived back at the house.
“It was a miracle that Clint was walking to the shop and heard Charlie howling – he never howls or barks.
“Charlie wouldn’t even budge when Clint tried to pull him off his dad to put him in the recovery position.
“If it wasn’t for Charlie lying on John, howling and barking, he would have died.”
Mr Hockaday, a father of four, has been a diabetic for 29 years and was first diagnosed when he was 23 years old. He became blind in 2010 after being diagnosed with glaucoma – which is a result of the diabetes.
John has no recollection of what happened. He finally woke up six hours later, after he was taken to the Queen Alexandra hospital in Portsmouth.
Mrs Hockaday added: “The paramedics placed eight blankets over John’s body when they arrived.
“They told me that if John had been lying there for another five minutes, he would have died.
“Charlie is definitely the hero in the family. He doesn’t leave John’s side and the two are inseparable.”
After his heroics, Charlie, who was adopted by the family from their local Blue Cross centre, has been put forward to receive a medal.
Megan Baverstock, from Blue Cross Southampton rehoming centre, said: “This is such a remarkable story and just goes to show the difference dogs can make to people’s lives.”