In the sleepy town of Cambridge, United Kingdom, a retired construction worker fell into a deep slumber one night, completely unaware of the danger that lay ahead. David Lindsay, 64 years old, slept so soundly that not even a pin-dropping could have woken him up. Several hours later, his wife’s screams finally roused him from his deep sleep. To his shock, he found his beloved puppy, Harley, had chewed his big toe down to the bone, leaving his right foot covered in blood.

The seven-month-old bulldog puppy had gnawed on David’s toe so relentlessly that he had fractured it and even left the toenail hanging off of it. The sight was ghastly and both David and his wife were traumatized to witness it. The urgency of the situation became apparent when David was rushed to the emergency room, and medical professionals discovered that his dog might have saved his life.

David had lost feeling in his feet while sleeping on the couch, and blood had stopped flowing to his lower extremities. Two arteries in his legs had been blocked, and they were no longer carrying freshly oxygenated blood to the lower half of his body. Had it not been for Harley’s naughty antics, David might have suffered a heart attack, a stroke, or a pulmonary embolism.

Despite criticism, David chose to keep the little bulldog as a pet, knowing that the pup had actually saved his life. Had the puppy not chewed on his big toe down to the bone, David might have faced an even worse fate. As a father of five daughters and a grandfather to eleven small children, David knew his family would have sorely missed him if he had not survived.

“I was asleep on the couch when my wife walked in and shouted, ‘Dave, the puppy’s chewing your toe!'” David recounted. “My puppy had near enough chewed my big toe off! It chewed down to the bone and cracked it. But because of all this, I discovered that my foot is completely numb; I can’t feel anything.” David, who struggles with diabetes, knew that the toe had to be dealt with. His wife bandaged it up and drove him to the hospital, where doctors ran CT scans and found the blocked arteries. Blood flow had stopped, putting him at risk of premature death or amputation of his leg.

In the end, cute Harley saved David’s life, albeit through naughty behavior. This story of a man and his dog has warmed the hearts of many animal lovers, and it reminds us of the incredible bond that can exist between humans and their furry companions.