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Cradling the bundle of yellow fluff, I felt a surge of love for the tiny dog which was napping peacefully in my arms.
From the moment we laid eyes on a new born Baxter, we knew he was a special little puppy, he had the kindest face and cheeky little lopsided walk that melted your heart. As he settled into our family, each one of us grew to adore him, especially Olivia, six.
‘Mummy, Baxter wants his nails painted and his hair done too,’ she said would often ask. ‘I’m sure he doesn’t want that darling, all the boy dogs will laugh at him in the park!’
We had Baxter almost from the day he was born, and the girls, Olivia and Sophie, four, were especially fond of him. Then in November 2015, Olivia’s school rang. She had a fever and needed to be collected. Grabbing my keys and a jacket, I hopped in the car to go and rescue my sick little one.
‘Mummy I don’t feel very well’ she said as soon as I got to the sick bay of her primary school. Looking at her poor little face I could tell she really meant it, she was clammy looking and pale. ‘Come on, poppet. Let’s get you home for lots of rest and cuddles,’ I said scooping her up and thanking the school nurse.
Once home, I settled her on our lovely squishy sofa in the living room so I could keep an eye on her. She fell asleep quickly all snuggled up with her favourite blanket and tucked in for warmth. As she still looked poorly I decided to sit on the other sofa to watch over her. I made myself a cuppa and settled down with a spot of afternoon T V.
I hadn’t been sat down long when nine-month-old Baxter started to act very odd.
‘Get down, you daft brush,’ I said, tapping his bum lightly. He jumped off the sofa but then started moaning, nuzzling his snout into my leg. Then he jumped back up with his paws on Olivia and started whimpering
I started shouting at him to be quiet because Olivia was sleeping. But then he went over and looked at her and started moaning and barking again.
The more I was telling him to be quiet, the more agitated he got and eventually his paws got caught in her blanket and pulled the covers off her. When I went over to put them back on, I realised her face was in the pillow and there was vomit surrounding her face. ‘Olivia!’ I shrieked.
I heaved her up on to my lap whilst Baxter leapt frantically beside us to try and lick at her face.
‘Baxter, no! Get down,’ I tried shooing him off but desperate to help he kept leaping back up. Olivia’s eyes rolled into her head so I knew from experience she was going into a seizure, her lips were all blue. I have never been so terrified in my life.
Olivia’s suffered from febrile convulsions since the age of two. It’s a common condition and seizures can happen when children have a high fever or temperature. But I’d never seen her so out of it. Shaking, I called for an ambulance.
I sat outside in the rain as we waited for the ambulance, brushing the rain water through her hair to keep her cool and bring her temperature down.
Finally we were taken to the Glasgow’s Queen Elizabeth University Hospital where she was given blood tests and an IV drip with paracetamol. She still hadn’t come round and it took five hours before she was conscious again. When she eventually opened her eyes, one of the first thing she said was, ‘Mummy, can I have a bag of crisps?’
It was such a relief to hear that little voice again and despite everything it really made me smile. The whole ordeal was really difficult without my husband Stewart, 37, and even harder for him when he found out about it.
Working on an oil rig means he had 24 hours travelling before he could make it back to be with us. Olivia is a huge daddy’s girl and Stewart wouldn’t let her go for ages when he finally made it back.
As I was explaining what had happened I said to Steward: ‘Baxter saved her life. He knew something wasn’t right and wouldn’t leave her alone. He was amazing!’
After spending the night in hospital Olivia was allowed home to an eagerly awaiting Baxter. My neighbour Paul, who’d been in to look after him said: ‘Your dog’s gone crazy, he’s been jumping from couch to couch worried sick about her since you first left in the ambulance.’
As soon as they were reunited Baxter was so happy to see Olivia alive and well. His tail was wagging constantly and he refused to leave her side. And he pretty much hasn’t left her side since.
He even sleeps next to her now and waits at the window for her to get home from school. When she comes through the door she always says: ‘My boy Baxter’ in greeting as she gives him a huge cuddle.
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