A real-life Lassie helped rescue an 85-year-old woman who spent a whole night trapped in a ditch. The pensioner had gone for an evening stroll on Wednesday in Broomfield, near Chelmsford, Essex, but toppled head first into a drainage channel hidden by thick brambles. She was only discovered by 10-year-old mongrel Rosie and her owner Jackie Short, 70, at 7am the next day – after spending 12 hours lying in the ditch. "Rosie was interested in the ditch, but I pulled her away," said Ms Short.
"She whimpered, pulled back and insisted I take a look. I couldn't see anything so I kept walking away but she began to howl and I went back. It was still dark and I could see nothing, but I had a torch. As I shone it in the ditch I heard a very faint voice saying 'Help me, please'." To Ms Short's shock she then saw two boots poking out of the briar-filled trench. "I couldn't believe this little old lady had spent all night in a ditch. It was totally surreal," said Ms Short, who had been walking Rosie and her spaniel cross Jennie near her home.
Ms Short then tried to drag the pensioner from the ditch, but it was too steep. She tied up Rosie and Jennie, both rescue dogs who spent the early part of their lives confined to a pen in Greece until being rescued by animal charity, Desperate Greekies, and ran to get help. "I could not get her out – it was too deep, so I left the dogs to guard her while I ran to the nearest road where a dust cart was approaching," said Ms Short. A Chelmsford City Council bin man then tried to free the pensioner, who wishes not to be named, but he also struggled, so he called his colleagues.
The group of three men then managed to free the woman from the labyrinth of twisted brambles and pull her out of the ditch. Mrs Short added: "She was in a collapsed state and, had she been there much longer, the outcome might have been tragic." The woman refused an ambulance and was instead taken to her home by the workers. Amazingly, she escaped her ordeal with just a few scratches and a bruised shoulder. Ms Short added: "I'm really proud of Rosie. The other dog didn't take a blind bit of notice but Rosie really made a racket. If I didn't have Rosie I would have just walked past."