PHOENIX — “Man’s best friend” doesn’t go far enough for Buddy _ a German shepherd who remembered his training and saved his owner’s life by calling 911 when the man had a seizure.
And it’s not the first time Buddy has been there for owner Joe Stalnaker, a police officer said Sunday.
On a recording of the 911 call Wednesday, Buddy is heard whimpering and barking after the dispatcher answers and repeatedly asks if the caller needs help.
“Hello, this is 911. Hello … Can you hear me? Is there somebody there you can give the phone to,” says the dispatcher, Chris Trott.
Police were sent to Stalnaker’s home, and after about three minutes Buddy is heard barking loudly when the officers arrived.
Scottsdale police Sgt. Mark Clark said Stalnaker spent two days in a hospital and recovered from the seizure.
“It’s pretty incredible,” Clark said. “Even the veteran dispatchers _ they haven’t heard of anything like this.”
Clark said police are dispatched whenever 911 is called, but that Stalnaker’s address was flagged in Scottsdale’s system with a notification that a trained assistance dog could call 911 when the owner was incapacitated.
Clark said Stalnaker adopted Buddy at the age of 8 weeks from Michigan-based Paws with a Cause, which trains assistance dogs, and trained him to get the phone if he began to have seizure symptoms. Buddy, now 18 months old, is able press programmed buttons until a 911 operator is on the line, Clark said.
Clark said Buddy has made two other 911 calls when Stalnaker was having seizures.
He said Stalnaker’s seizures are the result of a head injury he suffered about 10 years ago during a military training exercise.
Stalnaker was not listed in the phone book, and he did not immediately respond to a request through police for an interview.
Amanda Lee Myers Sept 14, 2008
Opinion: This is highly amazing, I think. I didn’t know that you could train a dog to call a number on the phone. I have trouble teaching my dog not to bite my hand when I give him a treat! I don’t know, I find it hard to believe this. But, weirder things have happened. Astounding.