Crufts 2022: How remarkable Leyland dog Chewie saved his owner's life using CPR

The old adage of a dog being a man's best friend certainly rings true for the Whiteley family from Leyland after their dog saved one of their lives.

By Emma Downey
Thursday, 10th March 2022, 9:55 am

In 2018, Loretta was in the garden when she heard Chewie barking frantically. She went inside to find partner Ray who suffers from Multiple Sclerosis slumped in his chair in respiratory arrest, with Chewie jumping on his chest with all his might.

By the time Loretta got Ray out of his chair, he was in cardiac arrest. Loretta carried out CPR until the paramedics arrived.

Explaining how she taught Chewie CPR, Loretta said: "We added this into other sit and stay commands and had him practice on our other dog Messi.

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"We got Messi to lie on his side using hand signals and treats to encourage this behaviour and we worked on it every day."

Five year old Yorkie cross Chewie was rescued and adopted by Loretta, 56 and Ray, 55, at 12 weeks old after being abandoned with his littermates and left for dead after being found half buried in a bag with their paws and mouths taped up.

Determined to care for him after his sad start to life Chewie fast became a very important family member, helping Ray with his confidence.

As Ray has had pneumonia six times, Loretta now works as his full-time carer.

Ray and Chewie

"His throat doesn't always differ from breathing and swallowing. His MS affects his ability to breathe.

"For me now I am never very far from the house.

"I am so grateful we have some absolutely amazing friends and family who I can never repay enough for their amazing support network."

Loretta who has two other rescue dogs from Romania - German Shepherd cross Sheba, 11 and Border Collie cross Messi, 8, added: "The other two dogs were asleep upstairs.

Loretta with Chewie

"Somebody somewhere was looking out for us as it could have been a completely different scenario."

Interestingly, Loretta explains that they have always had big dogs and Chewie is their first small dog.

"We have had eight Dobermans so Chewie was definitely a guardian angel on our shoulders."

Loretta entered Chewie into the Crufts competition after seeing a post for it and thought nothing else of it.

Chewie

She was then shocked to discover he had reached the finals.

"I never thought I would hear anything.

"Who would have thought an old scruffy mongrel from Leyland would be with the pedigree dogs.

"We will be throwing a pooch party."

Since his life-saving act, Chewie, alongside Loretta and her friend, has helped to raise over £5,000 for animal charities and other pets in need.

Their fundraising efforts have supported a memorial in honour of a puppy buried alive – in a situation similar to Chewie’s – in Leyland; the work of nine rescue charities; paid for the vet’s bills for an owner whose cat had been attacked and helped a family who lost everything in a house fire.

Ray with his little guardian angel

Asked what it would mean to her for Chewie to win, she added: "I don't know if I could put it into words.

"We saved him and he saved Ray."

Loretta and Ray will be celebrating 30 years together in September - a month that could have had a very different outcome had it not been for Chewie.

Asked to describe Chewie in three words, Loretta poignantly adds: "My husband's saviour."

The final of Crufts will be held on Sunday, March 13.

To vote for Chewie CLICK HERE.

Not all heroes have capes but some have fur
Life saver Chewie