Heroic guide dog saves blind Patricia Richmond from coma


A GUIDE dog saved a diabetic woman’s life as she slipped into a coma.

Preston repeatedly hit Patricia Richmond with his paws as she lay helpless in bed at home, hovering between life and death.

Patricia, 50, eventually came round thanks to the determined efforts of Preston and was able to summon medical help.

The whole family
The whole family

Although Patricia, from East Kilbride, South Lanarkshire, is blind, the labrador/retriever cross belongs to her partially-sighted fiance Guy Kibblewhite.

The 50-year-old slept throughout the incident, unaware of the life-or-death drama unfolding by his side.

Preston, three, has lived with the couple since September 2012.

While the pooch is an excellent guide dog, he has never been trained to spot, or assist with, medical emergencies.

Last week, shortly after dinner, Patricia was sick and decided to have an early night. She managed to eat a couple of biscuits, hoping that would maintain her blood sugar levels.

In the early hours of the morning she suffered a hypoglycemic attack and began to slip into a potentially lethal coma.

Patricia Richmond
Patricia Richmond

Preston sleeps in a spare room, the entrance to which is about 6ft away from the couple’s room.

Patricia said: “Somehow Preston picked up that I was in danger.

“I don’t know how as he isn’t trained to do that.”

She added: “I could feel Preston nudging my face and pawing my arm to wake me up.

“I got this feeling that someone was hitting me on my arm.

“It woke me up from a deep sleep, which the Doctor later told me was me slipping into a coma.

“If he hadn’t I would have woken up in A&E or not at all because Guy would not have been able to see that I was not conscious.”


Patricia said doctors had explained to her that Preston most likely detected sweat produced by the human body during a hypoglycemic attack.

“Humans can’t smell it but dogs can,” said Patricia.

“Preston must have picked up on the scent and realised I was in danger.

“We were both very surprised as we didn’t even know that was possible.

“I’m just so grateful he was there or else who know’s what would have happened.”

A spokesman for Guide Dogs Scotland said: “Guide dog Preston was not trained to alert Patricia when her diabetic condition became dangerous.

“But we do hear stories of guide dogs making heroic interventions in people’s lives.

“It just goes to show how strong the bond is between guide dogs, their owners, and families.”

The spokesman added: “Guide Dogs receives no government funding for this service and relies entirely on public support.

“We are very grateful that the generosity of people in our communities funds life changing guide dogs like Preston.”

There are around  530 guide dog owners in Scotland. It costs around £50,000 to train and support each guide dog through its working life.