Super Teddy receives top animal honour

09 April 2018

Belfast Cockapoo receives PDSA Gold Medal for life-saving devotion

A family pet who alerted her owners when their young son became perilously trapped in a tumble dryer, has been awarded the animal equivalent of the George Cross – the PDSA Gold Medal – for life-saving devotion.

Teddy, the three-year-old Cockapoo, was honoured at a special ceremony at PDSA’s Pet Clinic on Shore Road in Belfast. Teddy was accompanied by Aaron and Gillian Gedge-Duffy and their four children, Sophie, Sasha, Freddie and Riley.

The medal was presented by PDSA Director General, Jan McLoughlin, who commented that Teddy’s actions “demonstrated an incredible bond and unwavering devotion”.


Teddy's story

On 13 November 2016 Teddy, the family pet of the Gedge-Duffy family, saved five-year-old Riley from horrific injuries when he became trapped in a tumble dryer. 

Riley, who has Down’s Syndrome, had managed to climb into the tumble dryer and pull the door shut, which set off the drying cycle.

Riley’s mom, Gillian, was upstairs at the time and it was only Teddy’s frantic barking and growling that alerted her that something was wrong. 

Gillian rushed downstairs to see what the matter was and found her eldest son, Freddie, watching TV. 

Gillian explains: “We immediately started looking for Riley and it was Freddie who spotted Riley’s iPad in the tumble dryer through the glass door.  Freddie screamed and I quickly opened the door, dragging Riley out of the dryer. We started dousing him with cold water.”

Gillian called Riley’s dad, Aaron, who happened to be pulling up at the house. Aaron rushed in and put Riley straight into a cold shower, in the hope of minimising the burns he had sustained to his arms, back and head. 

Aaron called 999 and an ambulance car arrived within six minutes, followed by an ambulance. 

Riley was taken to Ulster Hospital where he received treatment for bruises and burns. 

Discussing Teddy’s actions, Aaron commented: “Teddy has always been a special dog – she’s very intelligent, attentive and she loves the children, but I am totally in awe of how she acted that day. I know if Teddy hadn’t have done what she did, we’d have been planning a funeral. We owe her everything and I’m so proud of her.”

X-rays and a CT scan revealed no further injuries and Riley has since gone on to make a full recovery.

PDSA Director General, Jan McLoughlin, said: “Had it not been for Teddy’s actions, the incident could have proved fatal for Riley. She displayed unwavering devotion when she saw Riley in trouble and we are proud to recognise the actions of this very special little dog and the bond she shares with his family.”

Instituted in 2002, the PDSA Gold Medal is awarded to civilian animals for life-saving bravery and exceptional devotion to duty. The Medal is now widely recognised as the animals’ George Cross. Teddy is the 27th recipient of the PDSA Gold Medal, all of whom have been dogs.

PDSA’s world-renowned Animal Awards Programme was set up when the charity’s founder, Maria Dickin, instituted the PDSA Dickin Medal in 1943.  Regarded as the animals’ Victoria Cross, the Medal recognises the role of animals in military conflict. It was Maria’s hope that by recognising the incredible roles they play, she could raise their status in society, ensuring they were treated better.

As well as the PDSA Dickin and PDSA Gold Medal, the PDSA Order of Merit was instituted in 2014, to recognise animals that display outstanding devotion to their owners or to wider society, above and beyond normal companionship. Known as the animals’ OBE, the PDSA Order of Merit celebrates exceptional examples of the special relationship that exists between animals and humans.

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Super Teddy

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