Teddy, a three-year-old Cockapoo, has been awarded the PDSA Gold Medal – the animal equivalent of the George Cross – for saving a member of her family, five-year-old Riley, from grievous injuries. On 13 November 2016, the child had climbed inside a tumble dryer and pulled the door shut, accidentally setting off the drying cycle.
Teddy began to bark frantically, alerting owner Gillian Gedge-Duffy that something was not right. She rushed downstairs and, along with her eldest son Freddie, she began looking for Riley, who has Down’s Syndrome.
Gillian explains, “We immediately started looking for Riley and it was Freddie who spotted Riley’s iPad in the tumble dryer through the glass door. Freddie screamed and I quickly opened the door, dragging Riley out of the dryer. We started dousing him with cold water.”
After the children’s father Aaron arrived and helped them get Riley under a cold shower to help with his burns, an ambulance was called and the child received treatment for bruises and burns. X-rays and a CT scan revealed no further injuries and Riley has since gone on to make a full recovery; things may have gone very differently if not for Teddy’s intervention.
Aaron said, “Teddy has always been a special dog – she’s very intelligent, attentive and she loves the children, but I am totally in awe of how she acted that day. I know if Teddy hadn’t have done what she did, we’d have been planning a funeral. We owe her everything and I’m so proud of her.”
Teddy received her medal in a special ceremony at PDSA’s Pet Clinic on Shore Road, in Belfast. She was accompanied by Aaron and Gillian as well as their found children Sophie, Sasha, Freddie and, of course, Riley.
PDSA Director General, Jan McLoughlin, said, “Had it not been for Teddy’s actions, the incident could have proved fatal for Riley. She displayed unwavering devotion when she saw Riley in trouble and we are proud to recognise the actions of this very special little dog and the bond she shares with his family.”
Teddy is the 27th recipient of the PDSA Gold Medal, all of whom have been dogs.
Images by PDSA.