A woman who suffers from a crippling incurable condition has told how she was saved by her clever dog after passing out in the bath from the pain.
Seven years ago Chloe Bircher was diagnosed with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, a painful illness which left her bed-bound for a year.
When her condition was at its most excruciating, she would have died had it not been for Azan the German Shepherd coming to the rescue.
Chloe recalled how during one of the worst episodes she fainted in the bath from the pain and slipped underwater.
Azan, who was only six months old at the time, saw the fall and went to get help, Chloe said.
The discerning pet’s instincts are spot on and he can always sense when her health starts to flare up, the 30-year-old said.
“He was only six months old the first time I passed out and I was in the bath so I was submerged under the water,” Chloe, from Chellaston, Derby, said.
“He actually went and got somebody, we never trained him to do it but we’ve just got this unbreakable bond.
“If ever I’m not feeling well, he knows.”
Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS) is the name for a group of rare inherited conditions that affect the connective tissue.
Common side effects include fatigue, joint and muscle pain, digestion issues and low blood pressure.
It affects around one in 5,000 people in the UK, with other types of the condition being more common than others.
Chloe explained: “It’s a genetic condition where your body doesn’t create enough collagen. Everything in your body from tendons, internal organs and veins are made up of collagen, so it affects everything in the body.
“Due to me having this condition I also got Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome – my automatic nervous system doesn’t work correctly, meaning my heart rate increases and decreases randomly and in some cases we pass out.”
Chloe was recommended a specially-designed Pilates sessions by Ehlers-Danlos UK to help target her pain and relieve her symptoms.
She has hailed the programme as life-changing, saying it helped her build strength and inspired her to set up her own business as a Pilates instructor for people with similar conditions.
Chloe is now planning on walking a half marathon in aid of Ehlers-Danlos UK, to raise money and awareness for the charity.