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Dog saves disabled owner in ditch

A golden retriever is enjoying hero status after "saving the life" of his disabled owner when she plunged 20ft down a ditch in her motorised wheelchair.

Orca sprang into action when Cheryl Smith's motorised wheelchair struck a brick, causing it to veer off down a steep drainage ditch near York, England.

She came to rest with the wheelchair on top of her, trapping her legs and with water just feet away.

However, the dog, who was given to Cheryl by the charity Canine Partners, located a nearby dog walker who followed him back to Cheryl and raised the alarm.

The drama unfolded on Sunday when Cheryl, 22, a chemistry student at the University of York, was taking Orca for a walk along a dirt track in Heslington.

She said: "He was amazing. He did exactly as he was trained to do. There was no way I could have got out of the ditch. It was getting late and I was very cold. Basically he saved my life."

"I didn't know if he would go and find help. At first I thought he might just go off and play. He went off on two occasions and finally persuaded someone to come and help me. That is what they are trained to do, find someone who will follow them."

Peter Harrison, who followed Orca to the ditch and found Cheryl, ran home to raise the alarm. He then met a fire crew at the road to direct them while his wife, Julia, and daughter, Rosie, kept Cheryl company.

He added: "It's lucky he found me because the weather was so bad. He's very intelligent."

Fire crews later lifted Cheryl out of the ditch and kept her warm until an off-road paramedic arrived to take her to hospital.
May, 2003

  Dog strays 800 miles from home
A Beagle has strayed from his home in the US state of Kansas and ended up 800 miles away in Alabama.

Norman the beagle has been found at Auburn University after wandering off from his owner in Solomon, Kansas, in March.

Staff at the university contacted the City Hall in Solomon after finding the city's name on the dog's collar.

City clerk, Tallie Baetz, recognised the description as that of Norman who belongs to neighbours Tim and Jennifer Cross.

It's not known how Norman made it to Alabama.

Jennifer Cross said: "I wasn't going to take a holiday this year, but it looks like we're going to make a drive to Alabama to get Norman."

May, 2003
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Steel toilets for dogs installed in Vienna
Stainless steel toilets for dogs are being installed in Vienna to help keep the Austrian capital's pavements clean.

City officials say the city's 100,000 dogs leave 40 tonnes of excrement to be cleared away every day.

The $29,500 project of installing dog toilets is the first step towards keeping streets and parks clean.

At the same time the city council is considering introducing dog sheriffs to patrol parks and streets and make sure dog owners clear away their mess.

May, 2003

Dogs blamed for collapsing street
Urinating dogs are being blamed for a rash of collapsing lampposts in Croatia.

A report from the state-run power company says the urine left when male dogs mark their territory is corroding lampposts to the point where they collapse after a few years.

The report, based on research by scientists at the University of Zagreb, blamed the ammonia in the urine.

City officials who issued the report appealed to pet owners to make their dogs urinate somewhere else.
May, 2003

Allergic dog benefits from sponsorship
A three-year-old boxer is being dubbed the most allergic dog in the UK after being found to suffer severe allergies to grass, flowers, cotton, lamb, soya, white fish, and most materials used in bedding.
Tia is even allergic to dog collars.
Most natural and synthetic products bring her out in an angry, red rash and leave her with bald patches.
Rolling in the grass, lying on the sofa and eating whatever she likes are out of the question.
But staff at the National Canine Defence League rehoming centre in Snetterton, Norfolk, are making sure Tia still enjoys her life.
NCDL Snetterton manager Diane McLelland-Taylor said: "Tia was in a very sorry state when she first arrived at the NCDL two years' ago."
"There seems to be no end to her list of allergies, meaning that even simple tasks such as taking her for a walk have to be carefully planned."
"Yet despite her allergies, she loves life here at the centre. We can control her allergies with hypo-allergenic bedding and special food and give her lots of love and attention.'
"Although she'll never be able to live in a normal home, she's a happy little soul and a firm favourite here at the Rehoming Centre."
The NCDL is the UK's largest dog welfare charity and cares for more than 11,500 stray and abandoned dogs each year at its 15 rehoming centres. The charity runs the Sponsor A Dog scheme which lets certain dogs stay at the centres permanently.

May, 2003

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