A man’s best friend: Susie the Collie praised for helping save Bolton Wanderers legend

CUTE border collie Susie certainly is a man’s best friend.

For the 11-year-old has been given a special award by the RSPCA for saving owner Tommy Banks’s life.

We told in February how former Bolton Wanderers and England player Tommy was stranded in freezing conditions for five hours after he slipped and fell while out walking Susie.

The 86-year-old’s loyal pooch never strayed further than a few yards from his side. She ran between Mr Banks and the path – barking to lead rescuers, including PCSO Derek Thomas – to her beloved owner.

Earlier this week Susie was presented with an award in recognition of her tremendous loyalty to her owner by the Bolton branch of the RSPCA.

Mr Banks said: “You never know what could have happened if she hadn’t been there. The policeman said he was ready to try somewhere else then he heard the barking.

“I was there feeling sorry for myself but she was with me and never moved more than two yards from my side the whole time.

“She saw the torch first and led them to me. She is a very, very good dog.

Earlier this week Susie was presented with an award in recognition of her tremendous loyalty to her owner by the Bolton branch of the RSPCA.

Mr Banks said: “You never know what could have happened if she hadn’t been there. The policeman said he was ready to try somewhere else then he heard the barking.

“I was there feeling sorry for myself but she was with me and never moved more than two yards from my side the whole time.

“She saw the torch first and led them to me. She is a very, very good dog.

“I have a few England caps which I keep in a draw but Susie’s award is definitely going to stay out!”

The former left full back, who made more than 250 appearances for the Whites and was a member of England’s 1958 World Cup squad, was reported missing when he failed to return to his Farnworth home on February 13.

His wife Rita telephoned family, friends, neighbours and the police, and a team of volunteers and professionals carrier out the search.

Mr Thomas saw the reflection of Susie’s eyes first and on seeing the flashlight, Mr Banks called out for help.

The FA Cup winner was later taken to the Royal Bolton Hospital with hypothermia but was released the next day to recover at home.

“We got Susie as a puppy and she adores Tommy absolutely,” Mrs Banks added.

“She helped save his life.”

Bolton RSPCA Trustee Sue Morgan said the story of Susie’s loyalty and faithfulness had brought a lump to her throat after she read about it in the Bolton News.

Deputy Chief Inspector Melissa Furey added: “You see so many bad stories of mistreatment of pets that it’s so refreshing to come to work and hear such a nice story.

“It just goes to show that a dog really is a man’s best friend!”

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