A woman who was brought back from the brink of death by the gentle headbutts of her Staffie dog says she owes her life to the beloved pet.
Julia Sheeran, 57, blacked out in the kitchen of her Kings Langley home last month, and lay unconscious on the floor for hours before 11-year-old Staffordshire bull terrier Benchley managed to nudge and lick her back to life.
During the fall, Julia’s leg had been twisted and her foot broken. She was bleeding heavily and is convinced the accident would have caused her death had loyal Benchley not played his part.
Former nurse Julia, of Rucklers Lane, said: “I was making a cup of tea at 7.30am, and that is the last thing I remember of a normal life. I woke up with Benchley headbutting me and crying, and I could feel him licking me.
“My foot was facing the wrong way and I was lying in a pool of blood. I realised the severity of what happened and how important it was that I got help.
“Benchley was such a good chap. Without a doubt, I wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for him. He literally saved my life.”
Julia – who works as a performing arts lecturer at West Herts College but has not yet been able to return to work – was forced to drag herself through her bungalow home to reach her mobile phone, despite her severely injured leg.
She passed out several times along the way and eventually managed to call an ambulance, just short of three hours after the fall.
Prior to the accident, Julia thought she was beginning to get flu and had experienced dizzy spells, which she thinks could have caused the blackout.
Her injury is at risk of infection and she could still face the prospect of losing her leg, but she has had surgery to repair the limb and is resting and recovering at home.
Her main aim is to become well enough to walk her four-legged friend again. She believes Staffies get a negative press but is keen to tell his story to change misconceptions about the breed.
She said: “Benchley is the best-natured dog I’ve ever had – he is so kind and his personality is lovely. We were best mates anyway, but now I feel I owe him my life. He is my superhero.
“He was just fabulous at the time of my accident and was so pleased to see me when I came back home.
“He’s almost like my escort now, he’s always by my side and checking up on me to see I’m OK.”