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Levi Cater visited a salon to get her brown hair bleached to blonde back in 2018, but says that within minutes of the peroxide solution being applied her scalp started to burn and was 'smoking', prompting the hairdresser to quickly wash it off.
At home that evening, the 22-year-old's scalp started to bleed so she went to Nottingham Hospital where she was treated for third degree burns.
However, rather than getting better, Levi said the pain worsened and she reckons her Yorkshire terrier Chico could 'sense' something was wrong.
Levi, from Lincolnshire, said: "The whole thing has been incredibly traumatic.
"I only went back into the hospital because my dog wouldn't leave me alone - he must have smelt the infection.
"If I left it any longer then who knows what would have happened - I might not be here.
"Chico saved my life."
The support worker says she knew something was right as soon as the peroxide bleach was applied and was and as the day went on the pain got worse.
After a trip to the hospital, she was given antibiotics and was hopeful it would clear up, but over the next four weeks the pain got worse and the burns started to 'weep'.
She says she was alerted to a problem after Chico refused to leave her alone and went back to hospital where she was told she had sepsis.
She added: "Chico wouldn't leave me alone and he could smell something wasn't right.
"Eventually I started to smell the wounds so I went back to hospital.
"The doctors said they caught it before it got too serious and I was kept on a drip for three days."
In August last year, Levi underwent a scalp reduction procedure to stretch the skin on her head to cover the bald patch left by the burns.
"It's left me incredibly self-conscious and I struggled for a long time," she said.
"I haven't been able to go into a hairdressers again so I dye my hair at home.
"I need more surgery and doctors are planning to inflate balloons under the skin on my scalp because the first operation didn't work.
"It should stretch it enough so they bring it together and hopefully close the bald spots.
"It's so important to do a patch test first because you have no idea how your skin is going to react.
"I wish I'd done that in the first place and maybe I wouldn't have lost my hair.
"I'm just thankful my dog made me act on it - otherwise who knows where I'd be and if I'd even be here today."
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