THEY say a dog is man’s best friend, and no phrase could be more fitting for a pair of plucky pooches.
The owners of Tojo, the chihuahua, and terrier cross Izzy, have much more to thank their pets for than a spot of loyal companionship. Both owe their dogs their lives.
And now the dogs are going head-to-head in a bid to be crowned Britain’s bravest canine, as their heroic actions have gained them a place on the shortlist of the Dogs Trust’s honours awards.
Diabetes sufferer David Robinson, aged 37, nominated 11-year-old Izzy for the Hero Award, as he believes she has saved him from the brink of death on two occasions.
In 2004, Izzy came to the rescue for the first time when Mr Robinson collapsed in the bathroom of his Sheffield home. After being wrongly diagnosed with Type 2 form diabetes three years earlier, his weight plummeted to less than 7st.
Wife Julie, 36, was downstairs at the time, preparing to take the couple’s dog for a walk, but the canine’s reluctance to leave the house told her something was wrong.
Mr Robinson, of Stocksbridge, said: “The consultant said if I’d been left any longer that could have been it. It was the worst case he’d seen.”
Then, at the end of last year, Mr Robinson suffered a hypo attack while he was in bed asleep. His blood sugar level had dropped to 0.4, zero being the point at which a person can die.
Again, it was Izzy who raised the alarm.
In Mexborough, Mandy Hayes, 49, and her 13-year-old son were moments from being trapped in a fire in their flat in February.
The pair’s narrow escape was down to nine-year-old pet Tojo, whose barking woke them in the early hours of the morning.
Ms Hayes said: “I have always been close to Tojo but now I look at him and I can’t imagine being without him.”
All Hero Dogs finalists will be put to a public vote, and the winner will be announced at an awards ceremony in London on May 21. Readers can vote for Izzy and Tojo by logging on to www.mirror.co.uk