A WOMAN’S life was saved by a dog when she slipped into a coma while home alone.

Blind diabetic Suzanne West, 42, would have died when she fell into a six-hour-long diabetic coma if her partner’s guide dog Herbie hadn’t licked and cuddled her to keep her alive.

Miss West came round covered in dog hair and saliva on her bed at home in Creekmoor, Poole, at around 11.30pm on Wednesday with the faithful pooch by her side.

Woozy, she managed to crawl over to pull her life line and call for help.

And when paramedics arrived, Herbie, a seven-year-old black Labrador, was there to greet them.

Miss West, of Larch Close, said: “If it wasn’t for Herbie, six hours later into the coma I would have died.

“He literally saved my life. It was all really, really scary.

“I’m still very shaken.”

Her partner David Colclugh, 43, had gone away for the night on a fishing trip with pals from Poole Town Anglers club, leaving Herbie behind.

Miss West says after having dinner and taking a “perfect” blood sugar reading she went upstairs to watch television at around 6pm.

“I was in a coma for probably six hours,” she said.

“I came round and it felt like someone was wiping my face and nudging me. I was very disorientated and absolutely covered in dog hair.”

The lifesaving pooch refused to leave her even after the ambulance and her mum Margaret West had joined in the rescue.

“He never left my side except to wait at the top of the stairs for the paramedics,” Miss West added.

“He frightened them to death as they came across this big black dog in the dark.”

Miss West, who was diagnosed with diabetes aged four, usually relies on Mr Colclugh, who has some sight, to notice when she’s about to have a hypo and to rub glucose gel on her gums.

She rarely had them until last November, when, after a 16-day hospital visit she was put on the list for a pancreas transplant.

“They are as rare as hen’s teeth,” she said. “While I’m waiting for an operation the extra medicine I have to take affects my blood sugars.”


Tim Stafford is Guide Dogs charity mobility team manager for Hampshire, Wiltshire, Dorset and Isle of Wight.

He said: “Guide dogs build up a very close relationship to people and Herbie obviously has a close relationship with his owner’s partner.

“He must have sensed something was badly wrong with her medically and did what he could to try and help her out.

“It is quite remarkable and sounds as if he saved her life.”

Some guide dogs are specially trained for this kind of thing but Herbie acted “instinctively”, Mr Stafford added.