Family dog finds 5-year-old toddler in the clothes dryer

“It doesn’t bear thinking about what might have happened if the dog had not been there"
June 14, 2018 6:28 pm Last Updated: June 27, 2018 9:21 am

Kids are naturally curious and they’ll often play around with things that they don’t fully understand. Unfortunately, that includes a lot of dangerous things, which is why it’s important to kid-proof your house.

Still, it’s hard to kid-proof absolutely everything. There are bound to be some things you forget about or don’t even think could be a problem. Take, for example, the clothes dryer. While the large opening makes it easy to fill with wet clothing, it makes it equally easy for a child to crawl inside.

When Riley Gedge-Duffy of Northern Ireland did this, it could have ended in tragedy, but who the hero of the story is …

In 2016, 5-year-old Riley Gedge-Duffy hid inside a clothes dryer. He pulled the door shut behind him. His dog, Teddy, freaked out.


Riley’s mom, Gillian Gedge-Duffy, was vacuuming upstairs when the family’s 3-year-old cockapoo, Teddy, came running up.

“[Teddy] basically went berserk so she knew something was not right,” Riley’s father, Aaron Duffy, told The Guardian.

Gillian came running downstairs where she saw her older son, Freddie, watching TV.

“Where’s Riley?” she asked him.

Freddie did not know, but Teddy did. She kept on barking and running back and forth between them and the tumble dryer that had switched itself on and was making a strange banging noise.

It was pretty dark inside the dryer, too dark to see the then 5-year-old Riley. Yet Freddie was able to spot an iPad tumbling back and forth.

Teddy’s freakout led the family to find Riley and save his life.


They opened up the dryer and pulled Riley out. His mother poured cold water on him to cool him down. Less than a minute later, Aaron got home. Seeing what had happened, he stripped the boy down and put him in the shower to cool him off further.

After that, Aaron called the emergency services and Riley was taken to Ulster Hospital. Riley had only been in the dryer for a few minutes, so he luckily only had a few burns and bruising to his back, arms, and head. This meant that the hospital was able to treat him quickly and after a few days he could return home.

Still, had Teddy not been there to alert the family, it could have been a much different story.

“It doesn’t bear thinking about what might have happened if the dog had not been there,” said Aaron.

In 2018, Teddy was awarded a PDSA Gold Medal for her heroism.


As years passed and Teddy’s story spread, the People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals (PDSA) saw it fit to award her with a medal for her heroism. The ceremony took place in April at a PDSA Pet Clinic in Belfast. Teddy’s whole family was there including the now 7-year-old Riley.

“Had it not been for Teddy’s actions, the incident could have proved fatal for Riley,” PDSA Director General Jan McLoughlin said.


“She displayed unwavering devotion when she saw Riley in trouble and we are proud to recognize the actions of this very special little dog and the bond she shares with his family.”

Teddy is the 27th dog to receive a PDSA Gold Medal and Aaron can’t think of anyone more deserving of that honor.

“Teddy has always been a special dog—she’s very intelligent, attentive and she loves the children, but I am totally in awe of how she acted that day,” he told the PDSA. “I know if Teddy hadn’t have done what she did, we’d have been planning a funeral.

“We owe her everything and I’m so proud of her.”