Dog’s nomination for special warning bark

by Darren Jamieson on April 7, 2009

One amazing dog has been nominated for a respected award for his devotion to his owner and his special bark that warns when something is wrong.

15 year old West Highland Terrier, Toby, is owned by Fiona Hagenbuch from Uphall in West Lothian.  21 year old Fiona has cerebral palsy that causes her to fall and to suffer from fits on a regular basis.

Toby has become used to Fiona’s illness and has learned, without any special training, to use a distinctive bark whenever something happens, to alert Fiona’s mum.

Fiona, who also has epilepsy, vertigo and Meniere’s disease, knows how devoted Toby is to her and Toby has now been nominated in the ‘doggie devotion’ category of the national Dog’s Trust Honours awards, sort of like the People’s Pride of Britain awards for dogs.

Wendy, Fiona’s mum, told the media:

“When she goes out he literally lays by the front door until she comes back.  He normally barks but if Fiona has had a fall he will yap. He’ll do two short yaps then pause, then another two and he’ll keep doing it until I come to help. It’s as if he’s calling ‘mum, mum’.  Toby is very intelligent and I’m so proud of both of them.”

Fiona added:

“Toby has been our family pet for 15 years, since he was six months old.  We have a really special relationship. If I come home from work and forget to say hello to him he goes to his room and sulks.

“He doesn’t like it when I go to work either and thinks he should be with me all the time. I love him very much and hope he wins an award for being the best friend anyone could wish for.”

Dogs are not just companions for people but often develop a special bond with their owners and know instinctively when something is wrong.  Toby has developed his special bond into a potentially life-saving skill.

If Toby makes the shortlist, he and Fiona will be able to attend the prestigious ceremony in London on 19th May where celebrities such as Paul O’Grady and Kirsty Gallacher are also expected to attend.

1 Comment »

  1. […] as an ‘early warning’ to others about a forthcoming epilepsy seizure, for instance, such as Toby the West Highland Terrier, recently nominated for the national Dog’s Trust Honours award for ‘doggie […]

    Pingback by Why are dog owners healthier? | Dream Dogs — April 10, 2009 @ 4:32 pm

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