A Yorkshire Terrier has been praised for raising the alarm after an elderly neighbour collapsed in her garden in the dark.

Brian Hullah, 62, said he had no idea how his five-year-old dog Bella knew Rita Butler had collapsed but he said if the dog had not alerted him she could have been there all night.

Mr Hullah said Bella, usually a quiet dog, started barking in the kitchen at about 9pm on Sunday.

He said: “She was going a bit berserk. She’s usually pretty quiet, so we thought there must have been a cat or something out there.

“I opened the door and she shot out and she was running up and down the side of the fence barking.”

Mr Hullah said his stepson Andrew White went through the gate into their neighbour’s garden and found the pensioner, believed to be about 80, laid on the ground under some bushes.

He said: “I don’t know how long she had been there but she was freezing.

“My wife’s sister, our other next door neighbour, came out and rang the ambulance.

“She brought her a blanket, filled a hot water bottle and waited for the ambulance to come.

“She was disorientated – the ambulance woman checked her out for injuries. We lifted her up and took her into the house and then into the ambulance.”

Mr Hullah said Bella and Rita had a friendly relationship, and Rita regularly feed the the dog treats.

He said: “I don’t know if she had just fallen or slipped or something while getting her washing.

“She would have been there all night if it hadn’t been for the dog, because where she was laid was pitch black and the bushes had closed over her.

“I have no idea how the dog knew but she was really barking in the kitchen.”

“Rita feeds her through the fence and gives her bits of meat and chicken and all sorts of bits and pieces.”