SHE is the hero dog who has gone far beyond anything normally asked of man’s best friend.
The owner of a two-year-old Rottweiler has spoken of how the faithful hound saved her life, just weeks before she raised the alarm when her disabled mum plunged down the stairs.
Now the life-saving exploits of Shilo have seen her crowned Pet Hero 2011.
Stephanie Laputcha said Shilo stopped a driver from running her over after she suffered a severe epileptic fit in April.
She had collapsed into the road close to her home in Wester Hailes and was only seen by a driver after Shilo leapt in front of an approaching car and refused to move.
The 20-year-old said: “I’ve been epileptic since I was a baby but I hadn’t really had any attacks in years until that day.
“I fell on to the road and there was a car approaching. The guy hadn’t seen me somehow, but Shilo jumped right in front of the car and made sure the guy didn’t move.
“The guy only noticed me when Shilo was barking. If it wasn’t for her, I really don’t know what might have happened.”
Later that month, her mum, Amanda, 41, who was left partially paralysed after a haemorrhage nine years ago, fell down the stairs of their Wester Hailes home while the rest of the family was out.
Shilo used her considerable strength to help to lift his owner’s mum and enable her to raise the alarm.
Amanda said: “It wasn’t long after what happened to Steph and I was alone in the house. I fell down the stairs and I was stuck because I couldn’t lift myself on one side.
“But Shilo came up, put her head under me and pushed me up, so I could get up off the stairs and get to the phone.
“Now I always feel safe when she’s in the house with me. She’s part of this family and she looks after us.”
Her selfless devotion to her owners yesterday saw Shilo crowned the winner of the Pet Hero competition, run by the Evening News and Lothian and Borders Police
Stephanie, who is a full-time carer for her mum despite her epilepsy, will receive £250.
She will also have the chance to meet the police force’s finest dogs at their Fettes HQ, an opportunity her niece, Kelsie, three, is looking forward to.
Shilo also raised the alarm when Kelsie managed to open the door of her terraced home and wander down the street, ensuring she did not get far.
The Rottweiler is now training to be a Therapet, whose future duties may include visiting poorly youngsters at the Sick Kids hospital and helping people overcome dog phobias.
Amanda said: “We’re absolutely thrilled Shilo has won this. Everyone who meets her knows she’s a great pet – they always say what a great dog she is – but this is a huge honour.”
One of the biggest pet shows of the year will be held at the Royal Highland Centre, Ingliston, this weekend.
LovePets Scotland 2011 will include a wide range of animals, demonstrations in the main arena and experts offering information and advice. For more information, visit www.lovepets.me.uk