Dog Guards 79-Year-Old Woman for 20 Hours After She Falls

When all else failed for 79-year-old Erma Iverson — when her balance gave out, and her medical alert button would not work, and she lay...


When all else failed for 79-year-old Erma Iverson — when her balance gave out, and her medical alert button would not work, and she lay helpless near her home on a country road — her Labrador retriever never left her side. For 20 grueling hours, through a night with temperatures dipping into the mid-40s and animals coming by to inspect her, Crackers protected Iverson.

Iverson was taking an afternoon walk to her sister’s house, one-third of a mile across a gravel road in rural Minnesota. She bent down to pick up some branches, and she fell. No matter what she did, Iverson, who has Parkinson’s,could not get back up. The medical alert button she always wore refused to work. Her cries went unheard.

Night soon fell. Curious raccoons approached her as she lay prostrate. Crackers chased them off. She heard the barking of coyotes, and became petrified. Some younger ones eventually came near, but Crackers drove them away, too.

Iverson shivered her way through the night as Crackers stood watch. She was getting dehydrated, and didn’t have her medicine, and she was terrified about what would happen if no one found her. But finally she went to sleep. When she awoke, she listened to the sound of occasional trucks on the road, but she couldn’t even lift her arms to wave for help.

Eventually she either lost consciousness or fell back to sleep. Shortly after noon, her trusty mail carrier spotted her from her driveway and roused her. Her condition, as the West County Tribune describes it: “She had one eye completely swollen shut and the other nearly so. Her body was swollen, bruised, and full of scratches from her struggles.”

Iverson spent nine days in hospital. She says nurses told her that she probably wouldn’t have made it a couple more hours out there. She’s now home again with her best friend. I think we know what she’ll be giving thanks for this holiday. (Now she just has to put Crackers in front of the TV to watch some episodes of Lassie so if this happens again, he can summon help.)

Happy Thanksgiving eve, Dogsters! I thought this would be a nice story to launch us into the holiday.

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