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Buddy the Hero Dog Dials 911 for Help

Updated on May 1, 2014

When Joe Stalnaker had a life-threatening seizure, Buddy the hero dog came to the rescue by dialing 911 for help.

Buddy is a German Shepherd like this one.
Buddy is a German Shepherd like this one. | Source

A Story About Buddy

When we lived in Tomball, Texas (about four years ago), I picked up a copy of Coffee News at a barbershop newsstand. It gave me something to read while my husband got a haircut. Have you seen the publication?

Coffee News is distributed weekly to restaurants, coffee shops, motels, and other venues. Most of the publication features ads and coupons for local businesses. However, it also contains short news items, weather forecasts, high school football schedules, jokes and riddles, and horoscopes.

As I skimmed a column called "Everybody's Talking," I read a fascinating story about a hero dog named Buddy. It was old news, really -- the events had occurred a year or two before. But the story piqued my interest and I wanted to know more. Back home, I did some online research. Here is what I learned.

Hero Dog Saves Owner's Life

On September 14, 2008, the Associated Press (AP) reported a story that started something like this: "Man's best friend does not go far enough for a German Shepherd named Buddy."

The dog saved the life of his owner, Joe Stalnaker, by dialing 911 to call an ambulance to their Scottsdale, Arizona home. And it was not the first time he made the call. Buddy came to the rescue twice before!

Stalnaker suffers from potentially fatal seizures caused by a head injury he sustained while serving in the United States Army. He was stationed at Fort Bliss, Texas, when the injury occurred. Fortunately, Buddy knows what to do when Stalnaker has an attack.

Paws With a Cause

Stalnaker adopted Buddy as an eight-week-old puppy, and the dog knows to grab the telephone when his owner has seizure symptoms. Buddy is trained to press programmed buttons until a 911 operator is on the line.

Buddy does not actually dial 9-1-1. When he grabs the phone with his mouth, his teeth hit a programmed speed dial for the emergency number -- something he was trained to do by Paws With a Cause (PAWS).

Formerly called Ears for the Deaf, Michigan-based PAWS trains dogs to help people with disabilities. The dedicated staff trains assistance dogs, service dogs, hearing dogs, and seizure response dogs like Buddy. Lifetime team support encourages independent living.

An Incredible Rescue

According to the AP report, the Scottsdale authorities released a recording of the 911 call after the story broke. "Buddy is heard whimpering and barking after the dispatcher answers and repeatedly asks if the caller needs help,” the report said.

The police are always dispatched when someone dials 911. But Stalnaker’s address is flagged in the Scottsdale system with a notation that an assistance dog dials 911 when his owner cannot reach the phone.

“It’s pretty incredible,” said Scottsdale police sergeant Mark Clark. “Even the veteran dispatchers -- they haven’t heard of anything like this.”

After two days in the hospital, Joe Stalnaker recovered from the seizure that moved Buddy into action. He is grateful for his faithful companion and lifesaver. Without Buddy, Stalnaker could not live independently because of his disability.

"He knows what to do," said Stalnaker. "He’s looking after me."

Your Turn

Do you know a good story about a hero dog? Leave a comment below and join the discussion. If you enjoyed this article, please share it with your social networks.

Reference Sources

© 2014 Annette R. Smith


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    • Annette R. Smith profile imageAUTHOR

      Annette R. Smith 

      5 months ago from Grand Island, Florida

      Thank you, Larry. So glad you liked my article. It was fun to research and write. I love animals, too!

    • Larry Fish profile image

      Larry W Fish 

      5 months ago from Raleigh

      Buddy, what an amazing dog. You can't help but fall in love with him. It was a great story,Annette. I love stories about animals, I am a big animals lover.

    • Annette R. Smith profile imageAUTHOR

      Annette R. Smith 

      2 years ago from Grand Island, Florida

      Hello, Demas. Thank you so much for your comment. Animals are amazing creatures, aren't they? I didn't know that (150 words) about cats. But the uncanny, wordless understanding we have with our pets truly amazes me. Happy Wednesday!

    • Perspycacious profile image

      Demas W Jasper 

      2 years ago from Today's America and The World Beyond

      Will science make it possible soon to know what words our pets know and understand? Will it also make it possible for us to understand them and "talk to the animals"? Animal stories are great. Looking forward to the day? Our cat and we understand each other, but it is not in words, but sounds, though it has been said that cats can know 150 words. (?)

    • Annette R. Smith profile imageAUTHOR

      Annette R. Smith 

      4 years ago from Grand Island, Florida

      You're welcome, Dianna. Your visit and comment are most appreciated!

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 

      4 years ago

      What an amazing animal story! I love how Buddy followed through when he knew there was danger. Thanks for sharing this uplifting story.

    • Annette R. Smith profile imageAUTHOR

      Annette R. Smith 

      4 years ago from Grand Island, Florida

      Thank you, Linda. Glad you liked the article! Buddy is a true hero.

    • Annette R. Smith profile imageAUTHOR

      Annette R. Smith 

      4 years ago from Grand Island, Florida

      Hi, Maren. It IS a wow story, isn't it?! Buddy is an amazing dog.

    • Annette R. Smith profile imageAUTHOR

      Annette R. Smith 

      4 years ago from Grand Island, Florida

      Hi, Sallie. I love dogs, too. And cats, and ... all animals, really. So I love to hear heartwarming stories like the one about Buddy. Thanks for stopping by!

    • Annette R. Smith profile imageAUTHOR

      Annette R. Smith 

      4 years ago from Grand Island, Florida

      Hello, Demas. I'm glad you enjoyed the article. Thank you for bringing up PAWS with the programs you work with.

    • Annette R. Smith profile imageAUTHOR

      Annette R. Smith 

      4 years ago from Grand Island, Florida

      You are most welcome, Phyllis. Thank you for reading!

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 

      4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      I loved this story, Annette! The capabilities of dogs are amazing. Buddy is a credit to his trainers and a wonderful companion for his owner.

    • Maren Morgan M-T profile image

      Maren Elizabeth Morgan 

      4 years ago from Pennsylvania


    • drmiddlebrook profile image

      Sallie B Middlebrook PhD 

      4 years ago from Texas, USA

      Very nicely done, Annette R. Smith. I love doggies so much, and it's always heartwarming for me to hear stories about how one of them has helped one of us humans, once again. Thanks so much for putting "Buddy" on my mind today.

    • Perspycacious profile image

      Demas W Jasper 

      4 years ago from Today's America and The World Beyond

      I enjoyed this Hub also. I will bring the service to the attention of the Senior Companion program I work with and Encompass Hospice I also volunteer with. Thanks for the Hubbing.

    • Phyllis Doyle profile image

      Phyllis Doyle Burns 

      4 years ago from High desert of Nevada.

      I love 'human interest' stories, especially ones like this. To read about such an intelligent and devoted dog like Buddy is awesome. Thanks for sharing this story.

    • Annette R. Smith profile imageAUTHOR

      Annette R. Smith 

      4 years ago from Grand Island, Florida

      Thank you, Jackie. I love to read stories like this one.

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 

      4 years ago from The Beautiful South

      Great story, amazing animals. ^+


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