A Dad Who Died For 17 Minutes Saved By A Stray Dog
30 Jan 2016
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The dad-of-four collapsed in the night, but was brought back to life by Gracie, the stray dog.
A businessman who is a father of 4 children, died for 17 minutes has told of how he was brought back to life after a heroic rescue by the family’s foster dog.
Gracie, the stray dog barked non-stop after Andy Smith, 48, collapsed in the middle of the night following a suspected stroke and heart attack. Mr Smith’s stepdaughter Coral Sibley, 30, was woken by the pet’s incessant barking on the night of the attack.
“Andy said he felt unwell so went to sleep on the sofa. But being a typical man he played it down, insisting he felt fine,” Coral.
“But at 2.30am I heard barking and then a thud. I thought it was someone closing the door but then I heard barking again.
“I told Gracie to be quiet but then she went crazy. I got up and looked in to the front room and saw my stepdad face down on the floor.”
By the time Coral called the ambulance, Mr Smith - her father figure for 22 years - had stopped breathing.
Alongside her mother Jane Scott, 48, she carried out CPR for almost 10 minutes before the paramedics arrived and used a defibrillator to bring him back to life.
He was taken to Hammersmith Hospital, where he lay unconscious for almost two weeks.
“The doctors said he had actually died. His heart had stopped and they did not know if he was going to pull through,” Miss Sibley said.
“If Gracie hadn’t had been there, I would have woken up in the morning to go to work and Andy would have been dead on the floor.
“Gracie is a hero. If it wasn’t for her Andy wouldn’t be here. She saved his life.
“I honestly think she knew something was wrong. She doesn’t normally bark at anything.”
When Mr Smith finally woke in hospital, he was suffering from short-term memory loss and thought he’d had the heart attack at work.
He did, however, remember Gracie and told his family he no longer wanted to just foster her, but to adopt her for good instead.
Only now well enough to talk about his experience, Mr Smith said: “Gracie is my guardian angel. I wouldn’t be here now watching my children grow up if it wasn’t for her.
“We couldn’t send her back to Battersea after that. I want her here with me. She saved my life and I would do anything for her.” he said.
"Despite having such a difficult time before Battersea, Gracie is a brave and loyal companion who has changed the life of her owners.
"We couldn't believe it when we heard how Gracie had saved the life of Andy - after everything this little dog had been through - she is truly a Battersea hero.
Such stories win our hearts. We are so proud of all the brave and sensitive dogs who have always proved to be the best companions of humans.