Nova Scotia

Boy's cat curiosity leads to rescue of 93-year-old woman in distress

A Nova Scotia teen is being praised by an appreciative family after a chance encounter with a cat led him to discover a 93-year-old woman who had fallen and broken her pelvis.

Woman recovering in hospital, family thankful for 13-year-old's quick actions

Nolan Smith says he's not sure what would have become of his elderly neighbour if he hadn't spotted the black cat and decided to go outside to greet it. (Submitted by Leanna Killen-Leblanc)

A Nova Scotia teen is being praised by an appreciative family after a chance encounter with a cat led him to discover a 93-year-old woman who had fallen and broken her pelvis.

Nolan Smith was inside his home in Springhill, N.S., on the afternoon of Jan. 19 when he noticed a little black cat in his backyard. He decided to go outside to greet the furry friend.

The 13-year-old boy was following the cat in the hopes of petting it when he heard someone calling out for help.

As he followed the voice, he discovered his elderly neighbour had fallen outside in her backyard and was in distress. She was bleeding from the back of her head.

"I went over there in my slippers," said Smith, adding that it was quite cold out that day, perhaps around -10 C. "I felt worried and nervous."

He said the woman told him she had been on the ground for about 30 minutes.

Nicholas Smith, left, and his brother Nolan Smith received a certificate from MP Stephen Ellis recognizing their quick actions to help a community member. (Submitted by Leanna Killen-Leblanc)

Smith managed to pick her up at the armpits and move her to some steps, but when she tried to stand up, she fell again.

That's when he called his 19-year-old brother Nicholas Smith for help. 

Once he arrived, the two boys then got on either side of the woman and brought her inside. 

She then asked the boys to look through her cupboards for a list of phone numbers, and they called her friend. Eventually, 911 was called and she was taken to a hospital in Amherst, N.S.

"I feel pretty good that I helped her and that she's OK now," said Smith, a Grade 8 student at Springhill Junior-Senior High School.

Woman's family thankful

The woman remained in hospital Wednesday, recovering from a broken pelvis and bruises. Her family, who asked that she not be named for her own privacy, credits the young boys with saving her life. 

Given she fell in her backyard out of view, it would have been difficult for someone to see her or hear her cries for help.

Nolan Smith's certificate was hand delivered by someone from MP Stephen Ellis's office and signed by the politician, who was in Ottawa at the time. (Submitted by Leanna Killen-Leblanc)

"Our family is so appreciative of what Nolan and Nicholas did for our mother to save her life," the family said in a statement to CBC News.

"They are true heroes in our eyes."

The boys were also formally recognized for their actions by MP Stephen Ellis, who represents the riding of Cumberland-Colchester.

They were presented with certificates on Tuesday on behalf of Ellis that commended them for their "quick actions to save the life of a community member."

"What a great act of kindness," the signed certificate said. "Your compassion for others and heroic actions are sure to offer you nothing but success for the years to come."

Nolan Smith said if it wasn't for his love of cats, he's not sure what would have happened.

"I just like animals," he said.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Aly Thomson

Reporter/Editor

Aly Thomson is an award-winning journalist based in Halifax who loves helping the people of her home province tell their stories. She is particularly interested in issues surrounding justice, education and the entertainment industry. You can email her with tips and feedback at aly.thomson@cbc.ca.

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