If this was television news, the reporter would ask Nell, the guide dog-in-training: Do you feel like a hero? Nell should. The 17-month-old mix German Shepherd and Golden Retriever saved Lesley Hailwood’s life when the dog trainer began choking on a piece of chocolate lodged in her throat. Hailwood was eating the chocolate on New Year’s Eve from a Thorntons continental chocolate box, according to this story in the Daily Mail when she began choking. Nell, who will eventually go to someone who needs a guide dog, doesn’t receive training specifically on what to do if someone is choking on a piece of chocolate from Thorntons (they’re also not trained on those choking on Cadbury chocolate either) But Hailwood thinks it’s a credit to the dog’s intelligence that she figured out what to do.
By this time I was starting to panic because I couldn’t breathe.
‘But she had obviously heard me, and jumped up, ran past me, jumped onto the settee – which is not what she does at all – looked straight at me, got up onto her back legs – she’s quite a big dog – and with her two front paws she just lurched at me and hit me in the chest. And it dislodged the chocolate.’
Hailwood says Nell didn’t panic but seemed to know instantaneously what to do and is particularly special and clever.