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PHOTOS: Dog awarded after rescuing 75-year-old owner

bonnie the dog rescue owner val

Published by the Pirate FM News Team at 6:13pm 1st June 2018.

A Plymouth dog has been awarded for her prized devotion after saving her owner.

Bonnie, an eight-year-old border collie, rescued her owner Val Smith by summoning help when she became trapped in thick undergrowth while out walking.

The pair, along with Val's other dog Snoopy, had been walking in Widey Wood when they took a few wrong turns and ended up on a different path.

Val, who is 75, then become overwhelmed by thick undergrowth and was unable to move.

As her panic rose, she saw Bonnie run out of sight while Snoopy stayed close to her.

Val said: "I couldn't move at all and planned to shout for help when the school nearby finished and the parents began gathering near the gates.

"While I sat there, I worried that I would never see Bonnie again.

"Snoopy was also very distressed by this point. He sat down next to me, whining and panting as he saw the state I was in."

But Bonnie hadn't abandoned Val - she'd actually fled to find help.

Fortunately, teaching assistants Veronica Ffoulkes and Becky Zessimides, from Widey Court Primary School, were out on their lunch break when they spotted Bonnie.

Veronica said: "Bonnie was distressed and trying to get our attention. She circled us, barking and looking very fractious.

"Becky has a dog and could tell that something was wrong so she bent down, fussed Bonnie and said 'show me'.

"Bonnie darted off and we chased after her into the woods. We followed Bonnie for some time until we saw Snoopy at the bottom of a bank.

"We climbed up into the thick woodland, where we found Val. I couldn't believe what had happened.

"We went back to school and told the children about our adventures with Bonnie!"

Val says without Bonnie's help, she could have been stuck there for much longer.


Bonnie received a PDSA Commendation at a special ceremony at the charity's Pet Hospital, The Gwen Rees Centre, to recognise her actions.

She was nominated by Sam Clayton, who works at the PDSA Pet Hospital on William Prance Road.

Sam said: "Val is so dedicated to her dogs - they are her whole life and she regularly brings them to PDSA, so we've got to know them all really well.

"We heard what happened to Val and how Bonnie had helped her and I just knew that she deserved some recognition for her wonderful actions."


PDSA senior vet Robert Newcombe added: "At PDSA, we know only too well the amazing impact that pets have on our lives.

"The PDSA Commendation recognises the outstanding devotion that animals display and celebrates the amazing ways that they enrich our lives.

"Bonnie was a true hero that day, coming to Val's aid when she had nobody else to turn to. Her actions deserve special recognition and I am thrilled to present Bonnie with PDSA's prestigious Commendation award."

Val adopted Bonnie when she was six months-old and the pair have been inseparable ever since.

She said: "I suffer with bi-polar disorder and both Bonnie and Snoopy have been absolutely key in helping to maintain my mental health and wellbeing. The companionship they bring me and helps me to keep going on my darker days. Having two wet noses coming to greet you never fails to raise a smile.

"Their healing power is tremendous and I would be lost without them.

"I'm so pleased that PDSA has recognised her actions. She really was my hero that day and I am so grateful to her.

"Bonnie and Snoopy bring me so much joy - dogs really are amazing!"

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