A MAN in a medically induced coma woke up three days early with his beloved pet dog helping hasten his recovery.

The family of Andy Szasz, from Sholing, have thanked staff at Southampton General Hospital who allowed his four-year-old Schnauzer Poodle cross to pay him a special visit.

The 62-year-old was diagnosed with bowel cancer in August 2012, three months after his wife Estelle brought Teddy home from an RSPCA shelter in Fareham.

Despite receiving treatment and overcoming an initial bout of cancer, Andy became ill on December 9 and was admitted to the hospital’s intensive care unit with pneumonia.

He stopped breathing the following day and doctors placed him in a medically-induced coma and on breathing support.

Estelle convinced staff to allow her to take the dog to see him after Andy and his beloved pet had been video calling every day since he woke up.

While the hospital staff encourage family members to take pet dogs into the hospital grounds they normally only had reunions in the garden areas as part of their rehabilitation.

Teddy was an extra special case.

Estelle said: “There’s no doubt that talking to Teddy every day after Andy woke up sped his recovery. Being able to take him in gave Andy that drive to recover much faster than the doctors expected.

“The doctors told me that Andy would be in the coma for at least a week, but he woke up four days later and all he could talk about was seeing Teddy.”

Estelle said: “Teddy is such an incredibly lovely and loyal dog and he’s always had a special relationship with Andy.”

She added Andy was not quite ready to begin walking Teddy again but she was sure it was one of his top priorities.

“Hopefully next week they’ll be together and enjoying the fresh air again.”

Fiona Hall, senior sister on the general intensive care unit, said: “We encourage family members to bring pet dogs onto the hospital grounds. We have even had a pet cat. It can be hugely beneficial for patients, relatives, friends and staff. It can be motivational, aiding recovery, and can provide a pleasant and familiar experience in what can otherwise prove to be a long, uncomfortable journey in hospital.

“Pets As Therapy dogs often visit patients at the bedside if they or their relatives wish and evidence shows stimulating senses can enhance patients’ recoveries.”