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Real Life

REAL LIFE: Meet Abby, the brave dog who saved her owner's life when she fell off a cliff

''When Michael and I adopted a rescue dog, we thought we were helping the pooch. But Abby ended up saving me.''

By Brittany Smith

Sue Pethick, 60, from Caloote, South Australia, shares her story with Take 5's Brittany Smith:

Turquoise water sparkled across the horizon as my husband, Michael, and I looked out over the rocky cliff of Gleesons Landing in Yorke Peninsula.
"Careful Abby doesn't fall down the rocks here," Michael warned as he pulled out his fishing rod.
Abby was our two-year-old rescue Red Heeler we'd adopted one year earlier.
Leaving Michael to his fishing, Abby and I wandered off.
We'd been walking for a while when we saw a small path that led down the side of the cliff, towards the beach.
Mike and Sue. (Image: Supplied)
Abby raced off and as I followed, my leg caught on a rock and I plummeted down the cliff.
Landing three metres down, my left leg cracked violently.
Stunned, I tried to keep my wits about me.
I couldn't feel any pain but when I tried to get up, my body just slumped back down.
"Go and get Daddy," I pleaded with Abby as she paced nervously beside me.
At first she refused to leave my side.
But somehow she realised I needed her and raced off.
Alone and staring out to sea, my world faded to black.
Sue being rescued. (Image: Supplied)
Blinking awake some time later, I discovered Abby hadn't returned.
Suddenly, I heard movement coming from above.
"Sue?" Michael called out.
Relief flooded through me as I looked up and saw Michael and Abby.
"I think I broke my leg," I shouted back.
"I'll go get help," he promised. "If I try to reach you myself, they'll be rescuing two of us."
Faint and exhausted, I held on to consciousness.
Sue had to be flown to hospital. (Image: Supplied)
A woman who'd been helping Michael soon climbed down to me and held my hand, keeping me company until paramedics arrived.
They carried me on a stretcher to a helicopter, where I was flown to hospital in Adelaide while Michael and Abby drove.
At hospital, the agony that had bubbled under the surface over four hours finally hit me.
My left foot and leg were broken, I'd ruptured tendons and ligaments and my left ankle was dislocated.
Docs put my ankle back into place and inserted screws and plates into my leg and foot.
Afterwards, Michael gushed about Abby's heroic efforts.
Abby became a hero. (Image: Supplied)
Our precious pup had walked 2km until she reached him.
"She led me to the exact spot where you were," he explained.
I listened in awe.
There was no doubt about it – Abby had saved my life.
When word spread about the rescue, people rightfully started fawning over Abby.
Her vet gave her a bravest pet award and PETA sent special doggie treats for her to enjoy.
Four years have passed and while my leg is fully healed Abby still looks after me.
She follows me everywhere I go, even to the loo.
When Michael and I adopted a rescue dog, we thought we were helping the pooch.
But Abby ended up saving me.
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