For three hours while Susan Saunders, 65, was trapped deep in an outdoor dunny hole, her loyal blue heeler refused to leave her side. Simply named " Dog", the loyal 10-year-old stayed with his master, who was in agony in the narrow pit. The Gladstone woman became stuck in the 2.5m deep rudimentary toilet pit on Friday afternoon. She was alone on a rural property at Baffle Creek, north of Bundaberg, Australia, where she and her husband are building a house. About mid-afternoon, the sky began threatening rain so Mrs Saunders climbed on to the boat trailer to cover it when she slipped.
"As she's stepped backwards, she's sort of over-balanced, taken another step and she's gone," husband Gary Saunders said.
"She's gone backwards straight into the hole."
Mrs Saunders' right leg was jammed at a right angle in front of her in the tight hole but the shin and foot were twisted up so her toes were in front of her eyes.
"She'd been in there two hours when I got back," Mr Saunders said.
"I couldn't see her, and Dog came rushing over and I said 'Where's Mum?' and he's gone straight down to where she was and I've thought, 'Oh Christ'."
Mrs Saunders was in unbearable pain but remained conscious and it took another hour before emergency crews could get her out.
"They placed her in a harness and pumped her full of drugs until she went limp and then unceremoniously popped her out of the hole," Mr Saunders said.
Meanwhile Dog refused to leave her company and trailed under the stretcher all the way to the waiting medical helicopter, which airlifted her to Bundaberg.
"He never left her," Mr Saunders said, choking back tears.
"He's a very loyal dog and smart.
"Poor Dog still does not know what's going on."
Mr Saunders said his wife had completely shattered her right knee, including tearing all ligaments and tendons, and she would probably require a full reconstruction and artificial knee.
He said the tough-as-nails woman did not want to create a fuss but praised the paramedics, firefighters and AGL Action Helicopter crew who attended her.
She is recovering in Bundaberg Base Hospital.