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  • Writer's pictureSafer Highways

'Amazing' therapy dog helps suicidal woman on motorway bridge

A dog has been hailed as "amazing" after helping save a woman thinking of taking her own life on a bridge over a motorway, firefighters have said.

Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service said the dog, Digby, who helped crews in therapy sessions deal with trauma, was brought to the scene over the M5 in Devon, on Tuesday.

The woman moved to a safe position when she was asked if wanted to meet Digby.

Police said she was taken into the care of mental health professionals.

Situation 'increasingly worrying'

Devon and Cornwall Police said emergency services were called to the scene just before 11:00 BST following a report of concern for welfare for a woman.

The fire service said it was at the incident "as part of a multi-agency response" before Digby, an Australian labradoodle, who began working with the fire service in 2018, was brought in.

It said: "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 ... [who] 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."

Police said the woman was brought back to safety soon after 15:00 and the road was reopened.

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