Sometimes you come across a story so wildy, stupendously, Earth-shatteringly stupid you wonder what actually passes for journalism in the modern media. I tend to have at least three of those moments a week. But this latest is a real humdinger. I’ll give it to you slow:
“MYSTIFIED medics are trying to get to the bottom of how a dog saved her owner from a heart attack – with her rear end” – Source: The Sunday Express
Already, I can tell you’re interested. The ‘doctors-baffled’ angle is always a winner; the ‘dog saves owner’ format is tried and tested; and then pow! – dog’s arse. Right there, sentence one. If any one of you saw that coming, you should get on the phone to Randi immediately.
Stricken Piotr Wagner, 50, collapsed with agonising chest pains as he watched telly at home in Kazimierza Biskupiego, Poland. But when his pooch Pearl – a two-year-old Jack Russell cross – turned a heart-shaped patch on her flanks towards her master, he told doctors he felt the pain melt away.
Medics are baffled by the dog’s apparent healing powers, as reported by the Austrian Times. “He certainly had a heart attack but it seems to have suddenly stopped and he is now healthy and back to normal,” said one.
Piotr said: “I want everyone to know about my big-hearted dog.”
Now, this story is quite clearly ridiculous, so I won’t waste your time with a full, wordy, lengthy debunk. Suffice it so say there’s a couple of reasons this is a) utter nonsense and b) completely un-newsworthy:
- The dog’s patch isn’t really THAT heart-shaped. It sort of is, if you turn your head to the side and really look for the shape of a heart. But show the photo of the dog to anyone, and I’d be surprised they’d pick out a heart shaped patch.
- A heart-shaped-ish patch isn’t particularly rare on an animal. If it were a patch in the shape of the word’s ‘This Patch Is Hart Shaped’ I’d be impressed, not least that it’d even gone so far as to mis-spell heart.
- Even if the patch were completely heart-shaped, and even if that were completely rare, it wouldn’t imbue the dog with magical healing powers, nor would any powers effect just organs shaped like patches of colour on the dog.
- The patch isn’t on the dog’s arse, at all. That was just done for effect by the reporter in question – as are a lot of the details in this non-story I presume.
- There’s nothing at all to say the dog’s turning of it’s arse to the owner was in any way responsible for the upturn in the owner’s health. It’s correlation/causation, pure and simple. Presumably, it was a non-serious heart attack. Which the dog had nothing to do with.
On top of all of these, I actually googled the phrase ‘heart attack – with her rear end!’ and found exactly, word for word, the same story on thousands of
other news sites and sources. Which means the Sunday Express simply ran a shockingly poor story unchecked or unchanged. Which makes them the real arses of the story.