It’s a common saying that dog is man’s best friend, and in many cases, it’s true. For one local woman, a dog was much more than that: The canine saved her life.
In February, Maggie Tyler, 70, headed over to her brother’s house to let his dog, Trooper, out because her brother was out of the state. Because it was to be a quick trip, she didn’t put on her coat or take her phone with her to her brother’s wooded property, and that could have been a fatal error.
“There was ice, and I slipped,” she said.
She fell and broke her femur, and tried but was unable to drag herself to the car. Tyler spent around three and a half hours lying out in the below-freezing temperatures before she was found, but Trooper did his best to protect her from the elements. Dressed in short sleeves and Croc-style shoes, Tyler was exposed to the cold air, and her clothing, which had become damp, began to freeze.
Trooper, a four-year-old Welsh terrier, never left her side during the ordeal.
“He just was real upset and he didn’t know what to do,” she said. “He was right beside me.”
As darkness fell, Trooper stretched his body out on top of her unbroken leg, creating a warm blanket for Tyler, and she buried her fingers in his fur to keep them from becoming frostbitten. By the time she was found, around 9 p.m., her core body temperature was only 82 degrees, however had it not been for Trooper, she very possibly could have died that night.
“The surgeon said that dog saved my life,” she said. “He’s such a good dog. He just never left me, so he’s my hero.”
Trooper also remained on alert while Tyler was down, scanning the area back and forth as if on watch.
It took two days to bring her body temperature up and stabilize Tyler enough for surgery to repair her broken leg, and the doctors said it was a miracle that was the only injury she sustained after lying on ice for so long.
Tyler said she wasn’t afraid during the incident. She knew her daughter, Angie Tyler, was on her way from Detroit and would find her. Looking back, she said she can’t believe how calm she felt.”
“I tried to get up, and I didn’t realize I was hurt,” she said. “I said, ‘Jesus, you’re going to have to help me.’ I was never afraid. I never cried. I was mostly just thinking about what I was going to tell her when she found me.”
Tyler has undergone physical therapy and made a full recovery from her fall, and she is grateful for the responding deputy and EMTs who took such good care of her.
She’s also experienced a renewal in her faith as a result of the incident.
“(Jesus) was just trying to get my attention,” she said. “He scared everyone to death. Not me, though. This wasn’t anyone’s fault. He just wanted me to listen to Him.”