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New Zealand Staffies save woman’s life


TWO STAFFORDSHIRE Bull Terriers saved a woman’s life on New Zealand’s North Island.
The woman, believed to be from Wellington, survived a fall on to rocks and a night in the open before passing dogs found her.


Birchville resident Linda Fowler was jogging at 7.30am on Monday when her purebred Staffordshire Bull Terriers, Amba and Bugsy, veered off the track.

Miss Fowler kept running but the persistent howls of her dogs led her back. ‘I kept calling them but they wouldn't come. They just stayed there.’ Said Miss Fowler. She investigated and found the woman, who was dressed in black and nestled on the rocks between two trees. ‘I thought she was part of the rocks. I couldn't see what the dogs were barking at. I was almost touching her and I realised it was a human and I thought: ‘Oh my God’.

The woman was drenched with spray from the dam, ‘yellow’ with hypothermia, bleeding from the head and ‘burbling incoherently’, she said. She was saying: ‘Who are you? Where am I? What's happening?’

A MetService spokeswoman said the overnight low was 15 degrees Celsius but drizzle and rain before dawn would have made it feel colder.

Miss Fowler ran a kilometre to a nearby house to raise the alarm. Another woman coming up the track with her dog went to comfort the injured woman. The residents of a nearby house took a tarpaulin and jackets to cover the woman till the ambulance arrived.

Acting police sergeant Allister Rose, of Upper Hutt, said the woman had been reported missing by a friend on Sunday night but details were ‘sketchy’. Police had been waiting for more information yesterday morning when news filtered through that she had been found.

‘She had been lying virtually under a waterfall all night. It's extremely lucky that she didn't perish and that the dogs found her when they did.’ The woman is recovering from her injuries in Hutt Hospital.

Miss Fowler said her dogs were nothing like the so-called pit bull crossbreeds often featured in the media for attacks on humans. ‘They obviously recognised that she needed help.’

New Zealand Kennel Club president Phil Lyth said it was a good day for the breed. ‘Too often bad crossbreeds are mislabelled Staffies. That's a slur on good purebred dogs. ‘They're a good purebred dog with an excellent temperament.’

Amba is a seven-year old spayed bitch, pedigree name Warsop Melting Moment and Bugsy is an 8-month-old dog, pedigree name Warsop Jabber Dabber Doo. Both were bred by Staffie enthusiast and exhibitor Marion Harding, who campaigns against Breed Specific Legislation in New Zealand.

Marion said: ‘Needless to say, I’m immensely proud of both of them, as is Linda. They are perfect ambassadors for the Staffie breed and hopefully this can show the public and the media that not all bull breed type dogs are ‘devil dogs’.