Loughor woman diagnosed with epilepsy says Staffordshire terrier has saved her life
HE'S man's best friend — and also one woman's saviour.
Former lifeboat woman Kimberly Phillips says the potentially life-saving exploits of her dog Roxy are proof of how Staffordshire terriers are misunderstood.
The 21-year-old, who lives in Loughor, is coming to terms with living with epilepsy, after being diagnosed with the condition last year.
She said that after experiencing a number of seizures, it was only the response of her Staffordshire terrier which led to her receiving the urgent attention she needed.
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"Roxy is three-years-old, and she has saved my life about five times," she said.
"I have had seizures, and she has gone outside until someone has come to me.
"On one occasion I had a fit in the bath, and I don't know what would have happened to me, if she hadn't gone to get my husband Steve.
"It has happened to me while I am in bed, and on another occasion I was on the sofa. Steve was out of the house, and she ran down the garage and found him.
"The worst time was when I was in the bathroom, and I had a fit and fallen on my stomach.
"I was pregnant with twins, and I lost them, but again Roxy had gone to get Steve.
"It's been a difficult time, but I am convinced Roxy saved my life.
"And it makes me angry at the image which Staffordshire terriers have.
"It gets me so upset when people say bad things about them, because it is not the breed of the dog that is nasty, it is the person that brings them up.
"Any dog can be nasty. I got bitten by a Yorkshire terrier when I was 17, and all I was doing was walking to the shop and it came running out of the garden."
Kimberly has served with the in-shore lifeboat ever since she was 15, but she stepped down from the role following her diagnosis last year, as well as her job as a nursery nurse.
She currently has three Staffordshire terriers, whom she says are so good natured she has no hesitation in leaving them around children.
She said: "I have a friend who has a baby who has just turned one, with a brother aged three.
"They sometimes stay over with us, and not one of the dogs has ever done any thing to any of them, or anyone for that matter.
"I leave them in the room with the kids without any worries. Roxy lays by the pram or cot all night to make sure no one will go near the baby, and when they cry she always there to lick them to make sure they are better.
"I think Staffies have a bad image because historically they were bred for fighting, but times have changed, and they are lovely dogs."
Despite her devotion, Kim is bracing herself for some sad times ahead.
Her oldest dog, Major, is 18 years old.
She said: "I don't think he has got long left, but I want to spoil him for his last week or so."