A DOG stayed by its owner's side as she lay injured in freezing temperatures for more than 10 hours.

Pauline Muggleton fell over on Ferndown common while walking pet Goldie and remained there into the small hours of the morning.

She was found by border collie Charlie from Dorset Search Dogs after her husband John, a town councillor who represents the Links ward, raised the alarm.

Police say because of the conditions on Saturday night the 77-year-old "would not have lasted much longer" if she hadn't been found.

The grandmother-of-nine fell in long grass just 400 yards from her Ringwood Road home and when she was found was suffering from hypothermia.

Her husband said: "How can I ever thank the police and rescuers who found her? They were magnificent.

"They tell me that if she hadn't been found at this time she would have died."

Pauline took their retriever-cross for a walk at about 3.30pm on Saturday.

John said: "I suddenly realised it was dark and went to look for her. But I couldn't see anything. The headless chicken syndrome kicked in and I telephoned the police."

Pauline said: "I don't remember any of it. One minute I was here at home and the next waking up in hospital.

"I know how lucky I am."

The searchfor Pauline involved 19 officers, which included a helicopter crew, and members of Dorset Search and Rescue and Dorset Search Dogs.

A police spokesman said: She was extremely lucky. She was extremely cold and wouldn't have lasted much longer."

Charlie's handler Matt Cookes said: "I am over the moon that Charlie got his first find and that it was a successful outcome."