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'If it wasn't for rescue dog Maggie I might have died', says grateful dad

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Frank Saul with rescue dog Maggie and his wife Bernadette in their Clondalkin home

Frank Saul with rescue dog Maggie and his wife Bernadette in their Clondalkin home

Frank Saul with rescue dog Maggie and his wife Bernadette in their Clondalkin home

A rescue dog who spent three years waiting to be homed has been credited with saving the life of her owner.

When Labrador-cross Maggie heard owner Frank Saul gasping for breath in his sleep she rushed into his bedroom barking loudly before running down the hall and pushing open his daughter's door to wake her up.

An ambulance was called and the Dublin father was rushed to hospital where he was treated for a serious chest infection.

The family had taken the nervous dog - who features in Dogs Trust Ireland's new Waiting For You rehoming campaign - into their Clondalkin home only weeks earlier.

"My daughter says that only for Maggie maybe I wouldn't be here talking today," said Frank, who has since recovered. "She was running around barking like hell.

Panicking

"Dogs Trust have some lovely dogs out there and hopefully this will make people think."

He said his wife, Bernadette, was in a deep sleep at around 3am when he got into difficulty.

"My wife was out cold, fast asleep. I was gasping for breath. Maggie was on the stairs and must have heard me coughing and panicking.

"My daughter, Kirsty, said Maggie came into her room and was barking around her bed and back into our bedroom.

"I was in a bad way and I was rushed by ambulance to Connolly Hospital.

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Frank plays with Maggie in the back yard after the dog helped to save his life

Frank plays with Maggie in the back yard after the dog helped to save his life

"It was a very, very bad chest infection which was on the way to pneumonia. I was in hospital for four days. My daughter said I had gone grey. It was so frightening."

The dog owner revealed his heart-warming story for Dogs Trust's #WaitingForYou campaign to highlight the hundreds of rescue dogs coming through the doors of their rehoming centre in Finglas.

Ireland's largest dog welfare charity, which revealed it has rehomed more than 9,000 dogs since opening its doors in November 2009, is urging the public to consider adopting rather than buying a dog.

Frank said his family believe Maggie sensed there was something seriously wrong on the night he fell ill.

"We presumed she sensed something. Normally, she stays downstairs but that evening she came up on to the landing."

He said they had only taken in Maggie, who is around eight or nine years old, four or five weeks before the incident just before Christmas.

"My daughter, Kirsty, sponsors a dog. It was for her, the dog, but now she says she's my dog," he said. "Maggie is a very, very nervous. She had been in Dogs Trust for a hell of a long time. We just fell for her and they were amazed at how quickly she settled in with us.

"I think it was meant to be to get a dog like that.

"Hopefully people will hear this and support Dogs Trust in some way or other, even if they are not getting a dog."

To find out more about how you can support the campaign go to www.DogsTrust.ie