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Dog Saves Owner by Performing Heimlich Maneuver

http://www.baltimoresun.com/features/lifestyle/bal-to.herodogs29mar29,0,3140367.story?page=2

http://charlotte.com/120/story/65032.html

The Baltimore Sun article, “Canine heroics: a doggone mystery,? tells the story of the golden retriever, Toby, who saved his owner by performing the Heimlich maneuver on her after she choked on a piece of an apple. After she began chocking, the dog knocked her down and started jumping up and down on her chest until the apple was dislodged.

This writer had to undergo the challenge of being objective and fair while writing this article. Instead of just reporting the facts surrounding the story of how the golden retriever performed the Heimlich maneuver, this writer had the angle of discussing whether or not the dog intentionally knew what he was doing when he performed the Heimlich maneuver or if he was just reacting to her stress. However, the writer was not objective and instead had an editorializing voice sometimes. For example, after the writer listed several high-profile dog rescue stories from earlier this year, the writer asked, “What’s next, a Chihuahua conducting a coronary bypass?? Also, the writer was not fair and balanced because the writer used four different sources and used quotes from them all stating various ways that Toby did not intentionally mean to help because he did not know what was going on and that humans tend to anthropomorphize animals. The writer used one neutral source who said that the rescue was amazing and people can speculate, but people do not know what really caused the dog to save her. However, the writer used no sources that thought that the dog really knew what he was doing and intentionally saved her life by jumping up and down on her chest.

The AP story, “Owner says dog saved her with ‘Heimlich,’? also covers the news of the dog performing the Heimlich maneuver on his owner. This writer maintains objectivity and is fair because this writer chose to just state the facts about what happened. The writer includes quotes from the woman that was saved explaining how the dog saved her and stating that her doctor said she would have died if it hadn’t been for what Toby did. Unlike the Baltimore Sun writer, this writer did not include any opinions from any other sources.

Overall, I think the AP writer communicated the news better because the writer was more objective and fair (probably because it’s an AP story that was sent to newspapers all over the country). I liked that the Baltimore Sun writer went more into depth about the event and explored the concept of whether or not the dog intentionally meant to save his owner since this is an interesting debate. However, I think the writer should have also included sources who could give their statements on why they think Toby did know his owner was in danger and did know exactly what he was doing when he jumped up and down on her chest. I for one believe that the dog knew what he was doing and the writer even acknowledged that many people anthropomorphize animals, so I think the writer should have found some sort of credible source who could defend this position so that the article would be more fairly balanced. Also, I didn’t like how the writer seemed to be mocking the story with his tone like when he sarcastically joked about the next animal rescue story being a Chihuahua doing a coronary bypass.

Comments

A rigorous analysis -- thank you. I think you're write that the Baltimore Sun may have been self-indulgent with the subject matter. Most people see an animal is involved and take that as license to be wacky.