A quick-thinking Springer spaniel was hailed a hero today, after saving her owner's life.
Mollypops sprung into action when 40-year-old Rachel Hayes started choking on a strawberry pastille.
Hayes, from Carmarthenshire in Wales, was left gasping for breath and feared she was going to die. But somehow Mollypops' "doggy sense" was alerted and she came to the rescue, jumping on her owner's back in an action that mirrored the official Heimlich manoeuvre used to save choking victims.
"The sweet got stuck in the back of my throat and I couldn’t get it back up," Hayes told Wales Online. "It must have gone down the wrong way. I couldn’t phone anyone because I couldn’t talk.
"I was having difficulty breathing and was doing my best to get it out. But Mollypops’ sixth sense, or doggy sense, kicked in and she knew I was in trouble.
"She kept coming around me because she could see I was trying to get something from my throat. But I kept pushing her away because I couldn’t really breathe."
Hayes then ran to the toilet to try and cough up the pastille.
"Then Mollypops came up behind me put her paws on me and bashed on my back with such a force that the sweet came out," she said. "This went on for a few minutes – I can’t say for sure how long. I was just glad I could breathe. I just burst out crying and said, 'I love you.'"
"I gave Mollypops lots of cuddles and as a thank you I bought her a squeaky chicken," Hayes said. "She's an absolute hero."
It's not the first time a dog has been credited with saving its owner's life.
Earlier this year, three-month-old husky puppy Hunter alerted the McLarty family in Michigan to a gas leak during the night by wailing and barking.
"He was in the hallway almost doing circles and then he sat next to the stove and started crying," explained father Tim Hunter. "My wife turned on the light and she saw not only was the stove turned on, but at that instant she smelled gas."
In March 2012, border collie Snickers altered neighbours and police after his owner, who suffered from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, collapsed. Snickers had been locked in the apartment in Oshawa, Ontario at the time but repeatedly slammed his body against the door to break it and get out.
He was honoured alongside other heroic dogs, including a 12-year-old Labrador mix named Vicious, who lived up to its name and fought off a cougar that had pounced on its owner in Trail, British Columbia.
Words: Anna Brech, Photos: Rex Features