Lifesaver Cooper is Ron?s top dog
By NERIDA BLOK
FIVE-year-old labrador Cooper gave Ron Hewitt the lick of life and has been awarded for his efforts by the RSPCA.
Mr Hewitt, 76, of Kingscliff, was house and animalsitting his son Chris's Rosebank Bed and Breakfast property, Valleydale Cottage, with his wife Margaret in January this year.
While taking Cooper for a walk to pick some avocados, Mr Hewitt said he suffered a heart attack and collapsed.
Sensing trouble, a faithful Cooper stayed by Mr Hewitt's side, licking his face and arms.
"I could not move and was lying in the full sun in long grass, perspiring profusely and big black ants crawling all over me," he said.
"He kept me awake until the ambulance came.
"When the medico heard the story he said if he hadn't done something to keep me awake I wouldn't be alive."
Margaret recalled how the pair had been gone for about an hour when she had started to worry.
"I went for a walk and couldn't find him, then Cooper came to find me," said Mrs Hewitt, who herself was on crutches.
"He'd been by his side the whole time -? nudging him, licking his face and arms, just keeping him awake."
She said Cooper had only left Mr Hewitt when he realised he 'was making a funny noise' and couldn't call out for help.
"So he came to fetch me," she said.
Cooper, named after Coopers Creek, was credited for performing another act of 'heroism'.
"I was lying quite close to a dam and on two occasions 'Mr Coops' took a dip and shook cooling water over me ? quite amazing," he said.
Mr Hewitt was back at the Rosebank property on Saturday to attend the presentation to Cooper by the RSPCA.
Mr Hewitt said Cooper's actions hadn't surprised him.
"He's always been an intelligent dog," he said.
"He and I have always had a special relationship."