‘Hero dog’ Gypsie, of Harold Hill, could win national Dogs Trust award after saving owner’s life

Vix Hoad, of Harold Hill, with Gypsie

Vix Hoad, of Harold Hill, with Gypsie - Credit: Archant

A remarkable Harold Hill lifesaver is in the running for a national award – but don’t hold your breath for the acceptance speech.

Gypsie, a six-year-old Staffordshire bull terrier, alerted her owner to a house fire that had broken out as the family slept in Thornbury House, Bridgwater Walk.

Now she could get her paws on the “Hero Pet” award at the annual Dogs Trust Honours ceremony next month.

Her owner, Nicky Hoad, said she “wouldn’t be here” if Gypsie hadn’t woken her up that night.

“I didn’t realise you could put dogs up for awards,” she said. “I thought all dogs did this kind of thing until I started talking about it to my mates.


You may also want to watch:


“I saw the awards mentioned on a friend’s Facebook wall so I sent off my story – and all of a sudden I was through to the final four.”

It started after 41-year-old Nicky had been exercising at home one evening four years ago.

Most Read

“I’d just been on the running machine in the bedroom,” she said. “I finished, got off, had a bath and went to bed – I didn’t realise I hadn’t taken the plug out so the machine was still going round slowly.”

During the night, the machine caught fire, filling the room with smoke as Nicky’s 15-year-old daughter Vix slept next door.

“It was about 3am,” recalled Nicky. “I was asleep in bed and Gypsie jumped on my chest and started licking me. It was like: ‘You need to wake up now’.

“I opened my eyes and smelt this smoke. The whole room was filled with a black, heavy, rubber-smelling smoke, and the machine was on fire. I grabbed my quilt and threw it over the flames but the smoke was just such a horrible smell – I can’t forget it.

“My daughter was just in the next room. Anything could have happened if Gypsie hadn’t woken us up.”

Proud Nicky says it wasn’t the first time Gypsie had looked out for their safety.

“My daughter’s been ill for three years,” she said. “Every time she’s sick, Gypsie is behind her, looking over her shoulder.

“Vix sleepwalks as well. Gypsie knows when something’s not right and she’ll place her body over Vix’s chest to stop her getting up.

“She’s amazing, she really is. I’ve had lots of dogs but she’s one in a million.”

Gypsie will find out whether she’s won at next month’s ceremony in Home House, Brixton.

The Dogs Trust said the Hero Dog award celebrates “dogs that perform amazing acts of bravery or courageous feats […] including but not restricted to police, armed forces, and search and rescue.”

You can vote for Gypsie by visiting http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/dogs-trust-honours-2013-vote-1923377.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter