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June 2, 2003

Dog's actions save owner

From: BBC, UK - Jun 2, 2003

A Devon dog owner was saved from walking under a falling tree when her pet warned her it was about to topple.

Valerie Smith, 61, was walking her nine-year-old collie Tommy along a public footpath near her Plymouth home when the animal suddenly stopped dead.

Mrs Smith, who is partially deaf, said the dog stopped and stared at the trees.

Then he turned at barked at her, which she said was out of character for him.

"I went to walk on again and he really turned, bearing his teeth," she said.

"He stood still again as if to say: 'Stay there'."

Seconds later a large tree crashed down on to the path, so close to Mrs Smith that it scratched her right arm.

"I was just so shocked to see the tree, which was about five metres long," she said.

"It was covered in ivy and you could see the bottom half was rotten.


"Tommy could obviously hear it, he knew it was coming down."

Mrs Smith said she and Tommy, who came from Plymouth's Woodside Animal Welfare Trust, are now inseparable.

"I rely on him now.

"I think what he did was absolutely amazing," she said.