Staffordshire bull terriers Amba and Bugsy have been jointly named Life Saving Dog of the Year for rescuing an injured, freezing woman near Upper Hutt.
Birchville resident Linda Fowler and her hairy heroes were flown to Christchurch to pick up the award on Friday at the New Zealand Kennel Club's national dog show.
The dogs saved the life of a woman who had spent a night lying semi-conscious on rocks after she slipped and fell below the Bridge Rd reservoir, north of Upper Hutt, in March.
"I went past the dam on my usual morning run and kept going but the dogs wouldn't follow me," Miss Fowler said. "They just sat next to the lady and started barking." The injured woman was drenched in spray from the dam, yellow with hypothermia, bleeding from a head wound and babbling incoherently.
Miss Fowler estimates that she has told her dogs' tale 200 times in the past six months.
"You tell the story so often and every time you tell it people go, 'Wow.'
"I always get surprised by their reaction.
"It just doesn't sink in that it is such an honour to save someone's life – and knowing that your dogs did all the work is amazing."
Miss Fowler's prize was a sash, while the dogs got a year's supply of biscuits.
"I was absolutely rapt. It has saved me loads of money. I won't have to send them out to work now," she joked.
- The Dominion Post
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