Injured woman, 79, kept warm by ‘hero dog’ while waiting hours for ambulance

PUBLISHED: 08:26 20 November 2018 | UPDATED: 10:31 20 November 2018

Bowsa the heroic dog Picture: RACHEL EDGE

Bowsa the heroic dog Picture: RACHEL EDGE


An elderly woman was comforted by a local dog while she spent two and a half hours shivering on a Suffolk road waiting for an ambulance to arrive.

Don Cox, 71 from Hadleigh, was out walking his dog, Bowsa, on Saturday, November 17, when he stumbled across a woman with a nasty head injury lying in the middle of Meadows Way.

When he went to check if she needed help, Mr Cox found the 79-year-old had collapsed in the street, banging her head and scraping her hand in the process – leaving her unable to get up, and getting colder by the second.

Despite many local residents phoning for an ambulance, the elderly woman was repeatedly told to wait. Meanwhile, members of the public were forced to divert passing cars to avoid an accident.

When Mr Cox arrived, he said the woman was desperately cold and shivering. It was then that he had the idea of introducing her to Bowsa, who snuggled up to the injured woman to keep her warm.

Bowsa the heroic dog Picture: RACHEL EDGEBowsa the heroic dog Picture: RACHEL EDGE

“The lady and her daughter were sitting in the middle of the road,” Mr Cox said. “The poor lady had a big bad cut on her forehead. She was shivering.

“We got her to lie down and one of the neighbours came down with one of those yoga mats, but because her hips were hurt we couldn’t get her properly on.”

The East of England Ambulance Service said that because of the category of the injury and how busy they were, they could not get an to the woman quicker.

A spokesman said: “We would like to apologise for any distress caused by the wait.

Bowsa the heroic dog Picture: RACHEL EDGEBowsa the heroic dog Picture: RACHEL EDGE

“This was an extremely busy day for the trust, and the caller was advised that these kind of incidents (category C3) were experiencing estimated waits of up to 4 hours while we attended patients with life-threatening injuries and illnesses.”

Mr Cox described Bowsa, a six-year-old Labroador, Rottweiler and Husky cross, as a “big softie”.

While one of the neighbours brought the injured woman a hot water bottle, Mr Cox encouraged his dog to lie down with her.

“I didn’t know if he was going to do it or not,” he said. “He lay down and he actually had his head and paws over her. It was almost like he knew what was going on.”

Bowsa the heroic dog Picture: RACHEL EDGEBowsa the heroic dog Picture: RACHEL EDGE

“I kept phoning up the ambulance service and they said they were really busy.

“It was three and a half hours before the ambulance arrived. Her legs were going numb. That body heat was really important.”

The woman has since had surgery for her injuries and will remain in hospital until the end of November.

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