Dog saves Stoke City midfielder and model girlfriend from carbon monoxide poisoning
Jamie Ness and girlfriend Heather noticed their dog was sleeping all dayEngineer discovered carbon monoxide leak was slowly poisoning labrador and could have killed couple
13:27 GMT, 23 November 2012
Heather Weir and boyfriend Jamie Ness could not understand why their normally active golden labrador wanted to sleep all day
Stoke City's Jamie Ness and his model girlfriend Heather Weir say they owe their lives to their pet labrador after his strange behaviour prompted them to call in engineers.
They could not understand why their normally active dog Alfie suddenly wanted to sleep all day.
Investigations eventually revealed that the couple's Aga cooker was leaking lethal carbon monoxide gas that could have killed them.
One-year-old Alfie was sleepy because he was being slowly poisoned by the colourless, odourless gas.
Weir, 22, said: 'Without his strange behaviour Jamie and I would have went months not realizing what was leaking into our home.
'I love him so much and I'm so thankful to have such a wonderful companion – he saved our life.'
The 21-year-old midfielder moved from Glasgow to a new home in Cheshire with his girlfriend in July when he left Rangers for Stoke. He is yet to play for Tony Pulis's team in the Barclays Premier League but has represented Scotland through the age groups.
After noticing a strange smell, Heather had the stove checked and discovered it had been serviced and passed that month.
However, she said: 'Within the past four weeks, Alfie was sleeping all day. He had stopped playing with his toys and was just very lethargic.'
After returning from a family trip to the United States, Heather noticed Alfie was getting worse.
She said: 'He just wasn't right at all. Usually Alfie would be up and down like a yo-yo pestering me to play but instead, he went up to our room and slept for five hours.'
Heather had experienced a few brief moments of sickness but Jamie did not show any symptoms at all.
Determined to get the bottom of Alfie's strange behaviour, she called an engineer out to the home who immediately realised what was happening.
He told the couple that if Heather had not picked up on Alfie's sickness their exposure to the carbon monoxide leaking from the stove 'could have been fatal'.
Lucky escape: Stoke City Jamie Ness controls the ball against the Columbus Crew in July
Heather with Alfie: 'He makes our house a home', she said
Alfie's unusual behaviour alerted his owners to the carbon monoxide poisoning
'I explained about Alfie and myself and he was so genuinely concerned and happy that he'd discovered this for us before it could have been fatal,' she said.
'He explained that the smell of gas was not nearly as dangerous as the issue with the leak of carbon monoxide.
'I cannot believe how lucky we are – had we not caught this when we did, it could have been fatal to us all.
'I don't know what I'd do without Alfie – he makes our house a home.'
She added: 'Within two days of the problem being solved Alfie is back to his usual self.'
Carbon monoxide poisoning claims the lives of around 50 people a year in the UK.
Heather and Jamie said their dog was now back to his usual happy self
Stephanie Trotter OBE, president and director of CO-Gas Safety who raise awareness and publish data of CO deaths and accidents, said that carbon monoxide prevention needs a “belt and braces” approach.
She said: 'Firstly, well done to the dog and well done to the girl.
'Often our dogs, cats and other pets are more susceptible to the gas because of their smaller lungs and weight.
why miners used to take canaries down the mines – if they stopped
singing you knew to get out because there was CO present.
encourage all homes to open windows for ventilation, have their
chimneys regularly swept and install detectors – it really has to be a
belt and braces approach to keeping an eye on CO.'
The RSPCA said pet owners should be more aware of their pets' behaviour.
spokesman said: 'This demonstrates the importance of pet owners being
aware of their pet's normal behaviour and of being observant.
'If they do notice any change in their
pet's behaviour it's important to seek advice from their vet as it could
be a sign that their pet is suffering from a medical problem.'
Paul Johnston, chief executive of
Gas Safe Register, commented: 'The couple involved in this incident had a
lucky escape, but tragically others are not always so fortunate.
monoxide is a highly poisonous gas. You can't see it, taste it or smell
it and without an adequate supply of fresh air, it can kill quickly.
'The symptoms are also very similar to flu, which at this time of year is worrying if people get the two confused.'
For more information about carbon monoxide poisoning visit www.gassaferegister.co.uk