A rescue dog has been dubbed a hero after waking his owner up from a coma with his bark.
Andy Szasz was put in a medically-induced coma after suffering from pneumonia following a battle with bowel cancer.
But doctors were amazed when schnauzer-poodle cross Teddy managed to wake his 65-year-old owner up – three days before doctors planned to try to bring him round.
Five-year-old Teddy was given special permission by staff at Southampton General Hospital to visit Andy in intensive care, where he had the amazing effect.
Since then, he has been allowed to visit regularly to help Andy’s recovery before he was discharged less than a week later.
Now hero Teddy, who lives with Andy and wife Estelle, from Southampton, after being rehomed from their local RPSCA shelter is changing the lives of others as a hospital therapy dog and has scooped a top animal prize.
Civil engineer Andy, who was woken from his coma by Teddy in 2016, said: “Ted is such a remarkable little dog in many ways.
He said: “He’s clever, loving, loyal, funny and a right little character – he really stole my heart when we first met.
“I always tell people I rescued Ted and Ted rescued me. We certainly do have a special bond.”
He said while he was in the coma, Teddy had barked and then was put on his chest, bringing him round, dubbing him his “guardian angel”.
“Ted’s my bestmate,” Andy added. “Dogs are for life. He comes down the pub with me for a night out and everybody loves him.
“He’s great to be around, he doesn’t tell me off, he’s never disappointed in me and he’s always happy to see me – you would never get that in a human.
Teddy has since scooped the RSPCA’s special animal award at their annual honours event held at The Royal Society, London in 2017.
He now visits people in hospital, hospices, care homes and schools up and down the nation.
Andy said: “Teddy was inducted as a therapy dog in November so we had our first hospital visit just before Christmas.
“It was amazing to see the smiles on so many peoples’ faces when he came into the hospital. Not only the patients, but the nurses, the doctors and visitors alike.
“Ted was in his element, his little tail non-stop wagging and was unphased by anything, as usual.
“It was such a rewarding day for us both, and so amazing to see the affect animals have on people.
“I’m so proud of my little boy. It was my wish to make Ted a PAT (Pets As Therapy) dog to repay the wonderful work the charity at Southampton General Hospital does in cheering up patients and the fantastic hospital staff.”