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Published November 21, 2011, 01:39 PM

Minnesota woman credits survival to dog, mail carrier

WILLMAR, Minn. (AP) — A Minnesota woman credits her survival of a 20-hour ordeal outside after a tumble to her faithful dog and a punctual mail carrier.

WILLMAR, Minn. (AP) — A Minnesota woman credits her survival of a 20-hour ordeal outside after a tumble to her faithful dog and a punctual mail carrier.

Emma Iverson, 79, who takes medication for Parkinson's disease, said she fell outside her country home near Granite Falls. She couldn't get up no matter how hard she tried on that late September afternoon. Nobody heard her calls for help, and the medical alert button on her wrist didn't seem to work, the West Central Tribune of Willmar reported Monday (http://bit.ly/uNmTA6 ).

After night fell, she said, her dog, Crackers stayed with her and repeatedly chased away the raccoons that slinked toward her. Later she heard the yipping of coyotes and thought "Oh no, not them." Crackers kept the ghost-like visitors away, chasing after the smaller ones.

Iverson was wearing a warm shirt but shivered through overnight temperatures in the mid-40s. She said she was dehydrated and could not take her medication.

Sometime the next morning she fell asleep or lost consciousness. Fortunately, postal carrier Stan Boushek arrived on schedule at 12:45 p.m. He was just able to spot her from the end of her driveway, about 20 feet away. She had one eye completely swollen shut and the other nearly so. Her body was swollen, bruised and full of scratches from her struggles to get up.

Iverson spent nine days in the Granite Falls Hospital but made a full recovery. She said her nurses told her, "A couple more hours and I wouldn't be here."

She said she still wonders what could have happened. Days after her recovery, she heard that someone had reported seeing a cougar within a mile of her home.

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