A pensioner who nearly choked to death on a pickled onion says his puppy saved his life after jumping on his back to dislodge the vegetable.
Alan Spencer, 67, was having dinner at home in Withernsea, East Yorkshire when the skin on the pickled vegetable blocked his windpipe.
I was absolutely petrified. I was coughing and choking and leaping about trying to get it free. The poor dogs didn’t know that was going on. They were going mad.
He frantically tried to clear his airway and after around three minutes he made his way to the door in a bid to get help from a passer-by.
But he collapsed in his hallway and felt his “life slipping away” as he began to black out, to the horror of his frantic labradors Lexi and Nancy.
18-month-old Lexi leaped into action and jumped with all fours onto the centre of Alan’s back - unwittingly performing the Heimlich manoeuvre.
The downward force pushed the onion out of his mouth - saving his life.
He said: “People will say they are only animals and they don’t know what they were doing, but Lexi is so clever. She is very canny.
“She saved my life most definitely If it wasn’t for her I honestly don’t think I would be here.
“Normally I don’t speak like that, but looking back on the whole situation if it wasn’t for her actions I would be dead - lying in that passageway dead.”
Alan, who lives on his own, was tucking into an early dinner of crispbreads with gherkins and pickled onions when he started to choke on Thursday evening.
His Labs Lexi, a rare red-coloured one, and ten-month-old Nancy were sat on the sofa opposite and began to get agitated as he leapt up and tried to cough the food up.
Retired performer Alan staggered into the hallway in an effort to get to his front door for help, but his legs gave way and he fell face-first towards the floor.
He recalled: “It went straight down my throat and blocked the air completely.
“I was absolutely petrified. I was coughing and choking and leaping about trying to get it free.
“The poor dogs didn’t know that was going on. They were going mad.
“I got out the living room and tried to get down the passage to open the door to get someone’s attention outside.
“I felt myself going completely. I felt the life going out of me.
“I couldn’t get a breathe in. It was scary - it had been maybe I guess three or four minutes without a breathe.
“I fell to the floor and I was fighting and fighting for air and to get to the door.
“The small dog Nancy was jumping on my legs and Lexi was licking my face.
“I felt myself drifting away and I knew that was it and I was blacking out. I had a terrible pain in my chest and head and I was shaking all over - convulsing really.”
He said he was convinced he was going to die and his eyes began to blackout when he felt a strong shove in his back as Lexi jumped on him.
“All of a sudden out of the blue I felt this almighty crash on my back and it was Lexi,” said Alan.
“She had just jumped straight up in the air and landed right in the middle of my back.
“All of a sudden the piece of akin shot out of my mouth and I could breathe again.”
Alan’s pals now call Lexi the Little Hero and the former club singer has been spoiling her with treats ever since.
He added: “My back hurt for two or three days afterwards - as did my throat - but I’m fine now.
“I’ve been spoiling them both since with treats, and every time I even make a slight cough now Lexi turns her head quickly.”