One reason dogs are called man's best friend: They often save human lives. But George, a 2-year-old basset hound in West Yorkshire, England, has reworked that well-worn script a bit, literally calling for help to save himself. Home alone, the playful pup managed to wrap the phone cord tightly around his neck, then somehow dialed 999 — the British equivalent of 911 — to set up his own rescue. Here's the story of this "amazing dog," and his "insanely heart-exploding" adventure:
George had knocked the phone to the floor and was strangling himself with the handset's cord when he apparently dialed 999 in a panic. The operator heard only frantic gasps and heavy breathing and, assuming someone was desperately sick or reeling from an attack, sent police to the house. Neighbor Paul Walker let them in with his key. As the police were running around the house looking for a dying person, Walker says, he found George choking and ripped the cord out to save him. "Incredibly, you could see where his paw print was on the phone to ring 999," Walker tells Britain's The Sun. "He literally saved his own life."
How did the dog manage to call 999?
George's owners, Steve Brown and his daughter Lydia, are as dumbfounded as everyone else. They don't have a push-button phone, says Lydia, 18. "It's one of those old-fashioned phones with the dialing ring," she tells The Sun. And it's not like George is particularly clever. In fact, "he's not usually very smart," Lydia says. "He's really dopey and just likes to chew socks." After this ordeal, let him "chew as many socks as he likes," says Cassie Murdoch at Jezebel. And a word of advice to the Brown family: "Maybe it is time to get a cordless phone."
Is this the first time a canine has called the emergency operator?
No, says Wendy Toth at Petside. In 2009, Bailey, a golden retriever in Worcestershire, England, dialed 999 while chewing on a cordless phone in the backyard — when the call went through, the owner had chased Bailey behind a shed, and all the operator heard was a muffled "Come out or else, I'm warning you," some whining, then a dead line. Other times, dogs are actually trained to call for help. In 2006, an Orlando, Florida, beagle named Belle saved owner Kevin Weaver's life by speed-dialing 911 on his cellphone — biting the number 9, as taught — when Weaver went into a diabetic seizure. "There is no doubt in my mind that I'd be dead if I didn't have Belle," he said.