A man who slipped and broke his neck while walking his dogs was kept alive overnight after his two pets cuddled up to him to keep him warm.
Father-of-two Michael Dyer, 66, fell down a 30ft slope at a remote beauty spot as he exercised Jack Russells, Mickey, three and Boz, five.
He fractured an elbow and broke his neck in the fall and lay unconscious in temperatures as low as 7C (44F).
But amazingly, Mr Dyer survived after his two dedicated dogs snuggled up to him for 16 hours and helped stave off hypothermia.
They stayed with him all through the night as he slipped in and out of consciousness and thereby kept his core temperature high to ensure his survival.
The retired lorry driver says at one point he let them off their leads to get help but they refused to leave him.
The brave dogs were given to Mr Dyer by his family after his wife Catherine died of cancer.
Friend Barry Robinson, 48, who is now looking after the dogs said: 'Since Michael lost his wife the dogs are his whole life. They are like family to him - his only companion.
'He loves those dogs and the fact they wouldn't leave him is amazing.'
Mr Dyer was spotted at 9.30am on Friday at Fishcombe Cove in Brixham, Devon, by another walker who thought he had stumbled across a body and called emergency services.
Emergency services airlifted Mr Dyer to hospital where he underwent surgery but is expected to make a full recovering.
Mr Robinson said: 'Michael slipped and fell down a steep bank and broke his wrist and his neck.
'He tried to let the dogs off the lead so they would go and get help but they wouldn't leave him. Instead they stayed with him and cuddled him, keeping him warm.
'He was virtually conscious the whole time, about 16 hours. It must have been horrendous.
'He broke his neck in two places and he is being operated on but he'll be okay. His dogs have saved his life.'
Mr Dyer left his home at 3pm on Thursday and fell down the wooded embankment shortly afterwards.
He was found halfway down the slope and was taken by Devon Air Ambulance to Torbay Hospital in Torquay.
Sgt Jacqui Rees, who attended the scene, said his dogs had saved his life.
She said: 'The man was not as cold as we expected after lying there all night.
'The dogs, who were still with him when we arrived, had cuddled up to him and kept him warm.
'He was very lucky. Once we arrived the shock of what happened started to affect him and he did get quite cold quite quickly.
'It was fortunate that the tree stopped him falling further, although he may have fractured his elbow when it happened.'