COUNTY NEWS: Heroic dogs and owner rescue Sussex pensioner

Two dogs from Sussex helped save an elderly man's life late at night while out with their owner.

Naomi and John Barnes pictured with Maddie (left) and Lola. SUS-170719-101254001
Naomi and John Barnes pictured with Maddie (left) and Lola. SUS-170719-101254001

Maddie, a seven-month-old Labrador, and Lola, also a Labrador, aged six, were with owner John Barnes when they spotted the 86-year-old man near Church-in-the-Wood.

They heard the man, believed to have dementia, groaning in the woods in St Leonards on July 8.

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John’s wife, Naomi said: “My husband took our dogs out late once it had cooled down a bit. He walks from our house in The Suttons into Church-in-the-Wood. He normally walks the other way but decided to head in the direction of the bridge in the woods.

“Maddie, our puppy, went off the track a bit and was sniffing and rustling in a bag. My husband thought it was a bit odd as it was a proper leather-style shopping bag. Lola then joined in, so John called them off and looked to see what it was. It was some juice and biscuits.

“As John heard a groaning noise from the woods, he shone his torch down and saw the man about down the bank. His hat and wallet were also scattered about. John carried him up the bank and got him sitting on some nearby steps when Maddie smothered him in kisses and Lola sat between his legs.

“John then went to retrieve the man’s bag, hat and wallet. He carried the old man out of the woods, who was not at all steady on his feet. He had a large lump and cut to back of his head and was extremely disorientated and didn’t know where he lived.”

John found the pensioner’s address on his driving licence inside his wallet and carried him home.

Naomi added: “Both our dogs sat with the old man, nice and calm, sitting between his legs until my husband could get help. The man’s neighbours were sitting in their conservatory and could hear John coming up the alley way alongside their house. They thought they heard their neighbour’s voice in distress so came out to see my husband carrying him.

“The old man said he had been there since daylight but didn’t know what time. His neighbour says he goes out about 1pm so he must have been lying there all that time. He wouldn’t have made it through the night if my husband and our dogs hadn’t found him.”

Paramedics later took the pensioner to hospital to be checked out.

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