Human Interest

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Scottsdale Police Department/AP
Joe Stalnaker with his German
Shepherd, Buddy

Dog’s 911 Call Highlights Pet Prowess

September 15, 2008 03:21 PM
by Sarah Amandolare
A dog dials 911 to save his owner’s life in a rare but not unprecedented, instance of quirky pet heroism.

Buddy to the Rescue

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Last week in Phoenix, Buddy the German shepherd dialed 911 when his owner, Joe Stalnaker, had a seizure. Emergency personnel responded, ultimately saving the owner’s life. According to the Associated Press, Stalnaker’s address is “flagged in Scottsdale’s system” to notify dispatchers of his “trained assistance dog.”

Buddy learned his skills at Paws with a Cause, a Michigan-based organization that trains assistance dogs for people with disabilities. At just 18 months of age, Buddy is capable of dialing programmed buttons until an operator is on the line.

A similar situation occurred in Orlando in 2006 when Belle, a 17-pound beagle, called 911 when her diabetic owner, Kevin Weaver, collapsed from a seizure. Belle had been trained “to bite down on the number 9 on his cell phone” when Weaver was in distress. The pup had also learned to sniff out abnormalities in blood-sugar levels, and alert her owner with pawing and whining, according to MSNBC.
Ten years prior, another animal used a telephone in an emergency situation. In Tampa, a cat named Tipper dialed 911 when his flea collar became lodged in his mouth. Tipper’s owner speculated that the cat had accidentally pounced on the 911 speed-dial button while flailing about, however, attempting to dislodge the collar.

Related Topic: Emergency line abuse

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