Saving paws

SMART TOBY: Saved Debbie's life.   | Photo Credit: Photo: AP

Toby, a two-year-old golden retriever, saw his owner choking on a piece of fruit and began jumping up and down on the woman's chest. The dog's owner believes the dog was trying to perform the Heimlich manoeuvre and saved her life. (Heimlich manoeuvre is a first aid procedure for clearing an obstructed airway.) Debbie Parkhurst, aged 45, says she was eating an apple at her home when a piece lodged in her throat. She attempted to perform the Heimlich manoeuvre on herself but it didn't work. After she began beating on her chest, she said Toby noticed and got involved. "The next thing I know, Toby's up on his hind feet and he's got his front paws on my shoulders," she recalls. "He pushed me to the ground, and once I was on my back, he began jumping up and down on my chest." That's when the apple dislodged and Toby started licking her face to keep her from fainting, she said. "I literally have paw print-shaped bruises on my chest. I'm still a little hoarse, but otherwise, I'm OK," Parkhurst said. "The doctor said I probably wouldn't be here without Toby. I keep looking at him and saying, `You're amazing'."