Golden Retriever Heim-Lick dog, hero or not? — Update

The recent story, Golden Retriever Toby saves owner’s life (video of story), sure has created allot of buzz.

UPDATE: And, just in case you were wondering what happened to that piece apple, check out this video for the answer.

Okay, back to all the buzz. There’s been so much discussion about this story that the original reporter in Maryland who wrote up the tale, has penned this follow-up . . .

Heroism — it’s in the eye of the beholder
By Scott Goss, Cecil Whig

Whether it’s my next-door neighbor or the producer of “The Ellen Degeneres Show,” people keep asking me whether I believe Debbie Parkhurst’s story about and her dog Toby giving her the Heimlich maneuver.

The answer is, yes, I believe Parkhurst choked on an apple. And yes, I believe Toby’s jumping up and down on her managed to dislodge the errant bit of fruit. But that’s not really the question most people are looking for me to answer. What I think they’re really asking is whether I believe Toby knew what he doing.

To that question, there is no simple answer. I believe Parkhurst believes her 2-year-old golden retriever knew she was in trouble and leapt to the rescue. I’m certainly no animal psychologist so it’s probably not my place to guess at the animal’s intelligence or motives.

But as this story evolves, I’ve noticed that pet lovers can’t help but insist Toby is capable of human-like thoughts and emotions, while the more cynical types see only coincidence. Therein, perhaps, is the reason this story has blown up beyond all of our expectations.

I’ve fielded literally dozens of phone calls and e-mails this week from nationally televised programs, radio stations and local news programs eager to declare Toby a hero. They’ve offered to fly Parkhurst and Toby around the country, to put them up in expensive hotel rooms and grant them the 15 minutes of fame so many of us seem to desperately crave.

There’s nothing wrong with that, I suppose. Toby is definitely hero to Parkhurst, after all.

But somehow it seems like a shame that no one from “The Oprah Winfrey Show” or “Good Morning America” has ever called to ask about the paramedics, firefighters or police officers who risk their lives to help people every day.

I can say with certainty that those heroes know exactly what they’re doing. But maybe that would take all the fun out of guessing.


Remembering Golden Retriever – Jake the Diamond Dog


Jake the Diamond Dog is a tradition that spans canine generations. The original Jake, right, carried a bat as his successor learned the trade.

The above photo is a bittersweet one, with the mentioning of Jake’s successor learning the trade. That is because Jake suffered a stroke on March 18, 2007 and died the next day. Fourteen years old at the time, he was best known for performing at Louisville Bats games.

“My new dog has taken over,” said owner Jeff Marchal of Harrod, Ohio, “but it’s not Jake.” (The canine will keep the same moniker as his predecessor.) “I thought I was big, I thought I was tough, but I’ll tell you what, it’s been a rough road,” Marchal said.

Come learn more about Jake the Diamond Dog — a special guy who worked the ballfields and the nursing homes & hospitals doing visitations.