After Abby, an adopted red heeler cross, bravely helped rescue her guardian, who had fallen down a cliff face, PETA sent her a Heroic Dog Award and a hamper of treats.
Mike and Sue Pethick were holidaying at the Yorke Peninsula in South Australia in March when disaster struck. On a particularly windy day, Sue took Abby for a walk and didn’t return. Her worried husband thought he heard a distant voice and decided to go looking for its source. Driving around the area, he was unable to find any sign of either Sue or Abby.
Deciding to try searching on foot, he headed up a sandy track – wondering if perhaps Abby had been bitten by a snake and his wife didn’t want to leave her beloved dog to seek help.
After a few minutes, he spotted Abby standing alone on a scrubby, sandy dune about 200 metres away and immediately knew something was wrong. He called Abby, and she ran straight to him.
“I started asking Abby to ‘take me to Mummy'”, Mike told us.
Soon, the dog “turned and headed off back the way she had come and took me along the ridge/cliff tops to a clearing about 300 metres farther along”.
Approaching this spot, Mike called out to Sue, and she answered, “I am down here, but I have broken my leg”. When he arrived, he saw Sue about 3 metres down a small rocky cliff face with her ankle and leg looking very distorted and painful.
He immediately called triple zero and sought help from two women who were surfing nearby. Together, they stabilised Sue until the emergency services arrived.
The rescue took around two hours, and Sue was airlifted to hospital because of her severe leg injuries. She had not only dislocated her ankle but also, as she had thought, broken her leg.
Thankfully, she’s now on the mend, and the couple credit their dog with helping to save her.
Abby was adopted 14 months ago when she was just over a year old, after a previous guardian didn’t want her anymore.
“[W]e may have rescued her, but she repaid the favour big time two weeks ago when she led me to where Sue was on the small cliff ledge injured and unable to move”, Mike said.
“We believe Abby came looking for me when Sue must have passed out, as Sue doesn’t recall seeing Abby leave her. Sue had tried calling out to me at least 10 times, but due to distance and wind conditions, I didn’t hear her.”
Had it not been for Abby’s quick thinking and loyalty, it may have been a long time before Mike was able to locate his injured wife. She sensed something was wrong and didn’t rest until her guardian was safe.
“She is definitely a hero, and she sort of knows it. Sue and Abby are now closer than they were before we went away”, Mike said.