Bonnie, an eight-year-old Border Collie from Plymouth, became the latest recipient of a PDSA Commendation for coming to her owner’s aid after she became trapped in thick undergrowth.
Val Smith, 75, adopted Bonnie when she was only six months old. Suffering from bipolar disorder, Val credits Bonnie and her other dog, Snoopy, for helping her maintain her mental health and well being.
“The companionship they bring me and helps me to keep going on my darker days,” she said. “Having two wet noses coming to greet you never fails to raise a smile. Their healing power is tremendous and I would be lost without them.”
Bonnie further proved her loyalty last May when, during a walk in Widey Woods, in Plymouth, Val took a few wrong turns – finding herself on an unfamiliar path. Overwhelmed by thick undergrowth, Val found herself unable to move and began to panic. While Snoopy stayed close to her, Bonnie ran off.
“I couldn’t move at all and planned to shout for help when the school nearby finished and the parents began gathering near the gates,” Val recalled. “While I sat there, I worried that I would never see Bonnie again. Snoopy was also very distressed by this point. He sat down next to me, whining and panting as he saw the state I was in.”
But Bonnie hadn’t ran off at all: was was looking for help, and found it. Teaching assistants Veronica Ffoulkes and Becky Zessimides, from Widey Court Primary School, encountered Bonnie first while out on their lunch break.
Veronica said, “Bonnie was distressed and trying to get our attention. She circled us, barking and looking very fractious. Becky has a dog and could tell that something was wrong so she bent down, fussed Bonnie and said ‘show me’. Bonnie darted off and we chased after her into the woods. We followed Bonnie for some time until we saw Snoopy at the bottom of a bank.
“We climbed up into the thick woodland, where we found Val. I couldn’t believe what had happened. We went back to school and told the children about our adventures with Bonnie!”
Val, who was in a deep state of distress at that point, was relieved to be found.
“The two ladies helped me up and gave me a big hug, as they could see how frightened I was,” she said. “If it weren’t for Bonnie, goodness knows how long I’d have been stuck there.
“I’m so pleased that PDSA has recognised her actions. She really was my hero that day and I am so grateful to her. Bonnie and Snoopy bring me so much joy – dogs really are amazing!”
Images by PDSA.