A therapy dog has been hailed as “amazing” after helping to save a woman thinking about taking her own life on a motorway bridge.
Digby the brown labradoodle, who has helped firefighters deal with trauma during therapy sessions in the past, was brought to the scene on the M5 on Tuesday.
The dog joined Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Team as they responded to reports of concern about the woman’s welfare.
Police negotiators were already on the scene but the situation was becoming “increasingly worrying”, firefighters said.
But when Digby arrived, the young woman smiled and rescue team members were able to strike up a conversation with her about the dog’s role in the service.
She was later moved to a safe place and asked if she would like to meet Digby.
The woman is now being cared for by mental health professionals.
Following the incident, a spokesperson for Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service took to Facebook to applaud on of their most esteemed members of the team, Digby, who played a vital role in resolving today’s incident.
In a statement on their Facebook, a spokesperson said: ”This is Digby. Today he did something amazing and helped save a young woman who was thinking of taking her own life on a bridge over the M5 near Exeter.
‘We were at the incident as part of a multi-agency response. Police negotiators were speaking with the woman but the situation was becoming increasingly worrying.
”One of the fire crews had the idea to bring along Digby, our ‘defusing’ dog.
”Digby helps crews who have been exposed to trauma during talking therapy ‘diffusing’ sessions.
”When Digby arrived, the young woman immediately swung her head round to look, and smiled.
”This got a conversation started about Digby and his role at the fire service.
”She was asked if she would like to come and meet Digby if she came back over the railings, which we are pleased to say she did.
”We wish the woman involved all the best in her recovery.”
A spokesperson for Devon and Cornwall Police said: “Police were called to a footbridge on the A379, near Exeter just before 11am today [15 June] following a report of concern for welfare for a woman.
“Officers, an ambulance and the fire service all attended and localised road closures were put in place.
“The woman was brought back to safety soon after 3pm and the road was reopened.
“She was taken into the care of mental health professionals.”