Saturday, January 8, 2011

A Dog and His Man Save Neighbor

I came across a story on Jezebel tonight that I just have to share. It starts off bad but it gets better, I promise.

On Thursday, a girl started screaming after being attacked in her yard. Agustin Zamora Jr heard the cries and ran outside, calling for his Great Dane, Scooby, to follow. They, with two other men, chased the attacker off into an alley where the man, fearful of the large dog's deep barks, was held until police arrived to arrest him.

I really hope that dog gets some awesome Kongs for his part in the heroic rescue. First, it was impressive that multiple people responded to the screams and tried to help. Many people for hundreds of years haven't responded to screaming because they assume other people have heard the screams and are already responding. This is known as Genovese syndrome or the bystander effect. It's really disturbing to think about.

I first came upon the idea in a freshman philosophy class where we read Rousseau talking about a philosopher who ignored the screams out his window. It struck with me to the point where, as a junior, I insisted on seeing why I had heard a girl scream outside in the winter (it turned out she was drunk, which made my friend even more angry as he'd been in favor of ignoring any screams one heard). I thought of it again last year when a friend told me about Genovese syndrome after I was stuck on how no one had even seemed to notice when a homeless man hit me on my way to work, despite there being at least a dozen people around who had to have seen (and heard!) the whack when he struck my face. Knowing that it was normal for people to ignore bad things happened sucked, but it at least made me feel better than "those people all thought I deserved to be hit!" which was where my freaked-out mind had gone.

To think that someone not only responded to someone else's screams, but had the foresight to call his dog along to help hold the intruder? Just amazes me. That guy is a hero and his dog is, too.

For more information:
Jezebel article where commenters have some awesome stories about animals protecting them (I was bawling with happy tears after scrolling through, just to warn you)

Chicago Tribune Article about the dog and the attack

Do you have any stories of animals protecting you or alerting you to danger?

Thankfully Toby hasn't had to do much although he did hiss at the door when two (drunk) guys tried to come into the apartment. I think they thought it was their apartment from their response when the door didn't open! He also has been known to run at the wall between my loud, rude neighbor's apartment and mine and act as though he's trying to attack the wall. Very happy if that's all he's ever called to do in defense of me!

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