A WOMAN with a severe form of epilepsy has revealed how her 10-stone canine companion has saved her life three times in the past five years.
Miracle dog Lowen, a St Bernard, can detect when her owner Debi Gill is going to have an epileptic episode up to five hours before it happens.
Mrs Gill from St Stephen said: "In the past five years Lowen has saved my life three times while I was living in St Neot.
Lowen, who has received training to be a medical alert dog, will bark to warn Mrs Gill that an epileptic fit is near.
The dog is also able to detect when other people are stressed or unwell even before they have been diagnosed.
On one occasion Lowen – Cornish for Happy – opened a window, jumped onto the roof of Mrs Gill's porch and then over the wall to a neighbour's house to raise the alarm.
"She really is my best friend, added the 48-year-old.
Mrs Gill was diagnosed with a severe form of "unstable" epilepsy 12 years ago, which is triggered by stress and light.
"Before Lowen I would not go out for weeks on end.
"I saw her picture on the board at the RSPCA in Newquay and fell in love – she was a bit of experiment as I had never had a St Bernard before."
The pooch, one of 89 to survive from 120 St Bernard dogs abandoned in Northumberland, has also been known to open doors and seek help from people in pubs and community centres.
"When everyone else has gone home it's just me and Lowen, she said.
And Lowen is by Mrs Gill's side 24 hours a day, when she is cooking and even joins her in the changing room on shopping jaunts.
"If I have a bath it's no good closing the door because she just opens them – she is very persistent."
Mrs Gill said Lowen uses a variety of techniques to keep her safe, including nudging her to the floor and resting her head on the mum-of-one's chest and licking her face until she comes around.
"The first thing I get when I come round is a big wet sloppy kiss on the chin."
And it doesn't stop there Lowen can also detect stress and illness.
"Her breathing will become more rapid or she will bark. One gentleman that we know she never barks at but on this one particularly day she did and we later found out he had been diagnosed with Parkinson's.
"All dogs have the ability and it is knowing what signals to look out for, but Lowen is extra special. Lowen has given me new hope because she has given me freedom.
Besides looking after her owner Lowen is a popular guest at events, carnivals and the London 2012 celebrations in St Stephen.
She also accompanies Mrs Gill when she gives talks to raise funds for the training of other medic dogs.
"She loves kids and adores all animals – Lowen's best mate is a chihuahua named Oscar, added Mrs Gill.
"I have had five years with her and I would not swap her for the world."