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Hero Dog Saves Stroke Victim

Tia with Sonia Rampley.

Imagine you are asleep and are awaken by pawing at your hand. You know that it is the middle of the night; you do not want to be disturbed, so you continue to sleep. Insistently, the dog extends her claws and draws blood. This is what happened to Sonia Rampley of Norwich in the UK. What was strange about the incident is that the dog did not belong to her.

“She obviously wasn’t getting enough of a reaction with her paw, so she got her claws out and I had blood and scratch marks on my hand,” recalls Sonia. “She was so determined to wake me up.” Sonia could not believe that Tia, a Patterdale Terrier, wanted to go out in the middle of the night, but she got up and opened the door to the garden. Tia walked out and walked right back in again.

As Sonia returned to her bedroom, she turned on the light and found her husband lying on the floor. “Roy had obviously been there for a couple of hours and was freezing cold as we don’t have the heating on in our bedroom. He was paralyzed down one side. He couldn’t speak or do anything. If it hadn’t been for Tia, I wouldn’t have found him until the morning when it might have been too late.”

The couple are part of a local dog-sitting initiative called “Barking Mad.” The organization finds temporary homes for dogs rather than putting them in kennels. Tia and another dog named Fudge had only been with the Rampley’s for two weeks. Sonia remembers that Tia had become close to Roy and loved to sit in his lap. Thanks to her late-night effort, he is now recovering from his stroke at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital.

Barking Mad is operated out the home of Kevin Rowe. He considers the Rampley’s as two of his best sitters. “I’m not surprised,” says Rowe. “Dogs do the most incredible things and I’m a firm believer that what she (Tia) did was because of what happened to Mr. Rampley. It was not Tia being a nuisance, but to say, there’s something wrong (and) you need to fix it.” Sonia added, “It is so lucky we were looking after Tia. We’ll never forget what she did that night.”