Thursday, June 17, 2010

Dog Dials 911

I've heard plenty of stories of animals that have saved their owners' lives - warning them of fire, too-high carbon monoxide levels, gas leaks, you name it.  But this is the first time I've heard of a beloved pet actually using the phone to do so!  Suddenly my own furbabies seem a little unambitious...

I first read this story in the Healthy Pet magazine my vet subscribes me to.  The dog, a German Shepherd named Buddy, was trained by his owner to bring him the phone whenever he started to have seizure symptoms.  If he couldn't make the call himself, the dog was trained to use his teeth to press programmed buttons that dialed 911.  He has to hold the button (any button) down for 3 seconds to trigger the call.  How awesome is that?  According to this news story, Buddy has done this 3 or 4 times now.  Buddy whimpers and whines into the phone once the call is answered.  The magazine says that the dispatcher recognized Mr. Stalnaker's name on the Caller ID as someone who was well known to be susceptible to seizures.  Mr. Stalnaker has been training Buddy, who was 18 months at the time of the story, since the dog was 8 weeks old.  I couldn't do more than get my dogs potty-trained.  I can't even imagine how much time and effort it must have taken to train Buddy!  I know German Shepherds make great work dogs and service dogs because they are so smart, but I still say it takes LOADS of effort on both the trainer's and the dog's parts to make it work. 

I love all kinds of warm-fuzzy pet stories, but the ones where the pets save people's lives are somehow extra special. And don't forget pet therapy animals!  It would be a sad world indeed without the love of an animal or two. 

Photo of Buddy and Joe Stalnaker found here.


  1. I think the movie "Up" was not all that farfetched. At some point, scientists will be able to translate animal thoughts into verbal language. It will be a one-way communication, though, at first. I think it will be very interesting to see what they have to say.

  2. Marvin - I haven't seen that movie, but I want to! I would LOVE to be able to know what my furbabies are thinking sometimes.