All About Multiple Sclerosis

More MS news articles for September 2003

Dog saves man stuck in bath

Monday, 8 September, 2003, 12:05 GMT 13:05 UK

A man suffering from multiple sclerosis who lay trapped in his bathtub for six days says he owes his life to his loyal dog.

Bruce Ashworth, 55, slipped while taking a bath in his home in the US state of Colorado on 29 August.

Mr Ashworth, a retired engineer who now uses a wheelchair, could not reach the safety handles in the bath to rescue himself.

His specially-trained Labrador dog, Libby, retrieved his phone so he could call for aid, but it had no power.

Undeterred, Libby kept her master alive by licking his face to keep him awake and tapping her paws on the floor to prevent him from slipping into unconsciousness.

"The whole time I was laying in the tub, she played little games with me to keep my spirits up," Mr Ashworth told the local Rocky Mountain newspaper.

"I actually spent a lot of time hallucinating. I wasn't aware of what reality was."


As hours turned into days, Mr Ashworth said he began to fear he may die.

But a local bus driver - who had come to pick Mr Ashworth up to take him to his weekly doctorate class - was alerted by Libby's barking when he failed to answer the door.

Julie Johnson then asked a neighbour to call emergency services and let herself in the home.

She found Mr Ashworth weak and barely coherent after days without food and little water.

But despite his trauma, Mr Ashworth still found the strength to thank Ms Johnson as he was taken to the ambulance.

"I am so thankful for this lady," he told the paper.

Copyright © 2003, BBC