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Boy with Down Syndrome stuck in tumble dryer: his Cockapoo becomes a hero

Teddy and Riley Gedge-Duffy dog-serious
© ODN – YouTube

In what could be a modern adaptation of a scene from Lassie, a Cockapoo sprung to the rescue and saved a life. Read on to discover Teddy’s latest adventure.

By Nick Whittle

Published on the 20/09/2019, 16:00, Updated on the 19/12/2019, 15:23

Back in 2016 Riley Gedge-Duffy, then five years old, was playing by himself in the kitchen of his home in Bangor. Riley has Down’s Syndrome and yet is perfectly capable of looking after himself. However, on this fateful day, Riley decided to take a peek inside his mother’s tumble dryer.

Somehow Riley got stuck in the dryer after having closed the door on himself. The dryer, which automatically began once he was inside, began to cook the lad and cause him to suffocate.

Meanwhile his mother was vacuuming the upstairs bedrooms unaware of what her boy was going through. That was until she heard Teddy the Cockapoo barking wildly.

Alarm barking

Mrs Duffy knew something was wrong when she heard the dog's commotion, and came downstairs to check on Riley and her older son. Although her older son was safe, Riley was nowhere to be seen. Teddy began to pace up and down towards Mrs Duffy: from her to the kitchen and back again.

Only when she peered into the tumble dryer did Duffy see her son.

Mr Duffy later told the BBC, "Only for our dog going nuts and notifying my wife by running up and down barking, my wife knew that there was something up and went down.

If the dog hadn't alerted my wife, had he gone another two minutes, three minutes, more than likely he would have been dead.”

Teddy had several months earlier alerted Mrs Duffy to an overheating iPhone. 


"She literally just pulled him out,” said Duffy. “It didn't matter if it was head first, feet first, legs whatever, he was coming out. So we got him out and literally cooled him down.”

Immediately Mrs Duffy called for an ambulance. One paramedic later told the BBC, “Suffocation would normally take only about five minutes inside such a tumble dryer, even if the machine had not started.”

Riley suffered to his arms, back and head but in due course made a full recovery.