Heroic Therapy Dog Digby Helps Save Woman Who Was Contemplating Taking Her Own Life
An extremely good therapy dog named Digby might have saved the life of a woman who was considering taking her own life yesterday afternoon in England.
According to a thread of tweets from the Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service, police and fire authorities responded to the situation on a bridge over a motorway near Exeter, which is in southwest England.
Police negotiators were talking with the woman on the bridge, but the fire service said the circumstances were getting increasingly worrisome. That's when one of the fire crews had the idea to bring out Digby, who's known as the "diffusing" dog for the team.
"Digby helps crews who have been exposed to trauma during talking therapy 'diffusing' sessions," the fire service wrote.
Our fluffy pal Digby, who looks to be a Labradoodle, soon arrived at the scene. The fire station says the woman turned her head right away to look at him. She then smiled, and she soon started talking with authorities about Digby and his job with the fire service.
The first responders then asked if she'd like to meet Digby if she climbed back over to the safe side of the railing, and she thankfully did.
"We wish the woman involved all the best in her recovery," the fire service wrote.
Haylee Bergland, CPDT-KA, CBCC-KA, RB, is Daily Paws' pet health and behavior editor, She's also a certified therapy and crisis response canine handler and trainer. (Check out her nonprofit, Iowa Human-Animal Bond Society.) She says therapy dogs can act as a spark that initiates the dialogue between the people in crisis and those offering help-which is pretty much what Digby did.
"For a survivor, or an individual that is receiving care from a first responder, the therapy dog is a non-judgmental, non-demanding emotional supporter who does not require or force conversations or demand answers but instead is a quiet presence that can just be with the person in their time of need," Bergeland says.
According to Express, the emergency lasted about four hours, from 11 a.m. to about 3 p.m., and the woman was "taken into the care of mental health professionals."
While Digby certainly deserves his accolades, we'd be remiss to not also credit his handler Matt, who together forms a dream team with the pup.
"Huge thanks to Digby's handler Matt for a superb job today, the training and support he gives Digby every day, and what the duo [does] for crews who have experienced traumatic situations," the fire service tweeted.
If you or someone you know is struggling or considering suicide, you can reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at suicidepreventionlifeline.org or at (800) 273-8255.