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Last Updated: Wednesday, 28 March 2007, 16:35 GMT 17:35 UK
Dog saves US owner with Heimlich
Debbie Parkhurst and Toby
Toby licked Debbie's face to stop her from passing out
A dog owner in the US state of Maryland says her golden retriever Toby saved her from choking to death by performing the Heimlich manoeuvre.

Debbie Parkhurst, 45, said she was eating an apple at home last Friday when a piece became lodged in her throat and she began to choke.

Ms Parkhurst said she pounded on her own chest but could not move the piece.

Toby joined in, jumping on her chest and dislodging the apple, then licking her face so she would not pass out.

Chat shows

Ms Parkhurst, who lives in the town of Calvert, said she was convinced Toby was not playing and was trying to perform his own version of the Heimlich.

The manoeuvre, named after Dr Henry Heimlich, who first recorded it in 1974, aims to clear airways with abdominal thrusts.

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Ms Parkhurst, who works with jewellery, said two-year-old Toby got serious after her own efforts failed.

"The next thing I know, Toby's up on his hind feet and he's got his front paws on my shoulders," she told Associated Press.

"He pushed me to the ground, and once I was on my back, he began jumping up and down on my chest."

Ms Parkhurst is recovering from chest and stomach wounds from Toby's jumping.

"I literally have paw print-shaped bruises on my chest. I'm still a little hoarse, but otherwise I'm OK," she said.

"They say dogs leave a paw print on your heart. He left a paw print on my heart, that's for sure.

"The doctor said I probably wouldn't be here without Toby. I keep looking at him and saying, 'You're amazing'."

Ms Parkhurst and Toby have now been asked on to numerous US chat shows.

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