One night, a couple who had been out for a few too many drinks came home to find their dog choking in the living room. The man panicked and fainted, but the woman decided to call her old friend, a vet, and arranged to drop the dog off at the vet clinic.
After dropping off the dog, she decides to go home and get her husband into bed. It takes her a while to do this, and in the meantime, the phone rings. The vet screams hysterically that they need to get out of the house immediately. So without any clue as to what’s going on, the couple leave the house as quickly as possible.
As they come down the stairs, several policemen run up to meet them. When the woman asks what the problem is, a policeman gently tells her that the dog was choking on a man’s finger. A burglar must still be present in their home. Soon enough, the former owner of the finger is found unconscious in the bedroom.
My cousin and his wife lived in Sydney with this huge Doberman in a little apartment off Maroubra Road. One night they went out for dinner and a spot of clubbing. By the time they got home it was late and my cousin was more than a little drunk. They got in the door and were greeted by the dog choking to death in the lounge room.
My cousin just fainted, but his wife rang the veterinarian, who was an old family friend of hers, and got her to agree to meet her at the surgery. The wife drives over and drops off the dog, but decides that she’d better go home and get her hubby into bed.
She gets home and finally slaps my cousin into consciousness, but he’s still drunk. It takes her almost half an hour to get him up the stairs, and then the phone rings. She’s tempted to just leave it, but she decides that it must be important or they wouldn’t be ringing that late at night. As soon as she picks up the phone, she hears the vet’s voice screaming out:
“Thank God I got you in time! Leave the house! Now! No time to explain!” Then the vet hangs up. Because she’s such an old family friend, the wife trusts her, and so she starts getting the hubby down the stairs and out of the house. By the time they’ve made it all the way out, the police are outside. They rush up the front stairs past the couple and into the house, but my cousin’s wife still doesn’t have a clue what’s going on.
The vet shows up and says, “Have they got him? Have they got him?”
“Have they got who?” says the wife, starting to get really pissed off.
“Well, I found out what the dog was choking on – it was a human finger.”
Just then the police drag out a dirty, stubbly man who is bleeding profusely from one hand. “Hey Sarge,” one of them yells. “We found him in the bedroom.”
These messages, in several variants, talk about a woman who leaves her Choking Doberman Dog at the veterinarian and later receives a call asking her to get out of her house – as Human Finger(s) has been found in her dog’s throat! Further, at the arrival of police, it is said that an unconscious burglar was discovered by the woman in her bedroom — with his finger(s) missing. Some versions say police find out a dirty, stubbly man bleeding profusely from one hand (without the finger). These scary sounding stories about choking Doberman are not facts.
Origin of Stories
Stories about the choking Doberman have been circulating over internet space in several variants since many decades. However, till date there is no evidence to support that the story is associated with any such real life incident. Moreover, the chain of incidents described in the stories is quite unlikely to happen in a real life scenario. The choking Doberman is in fact an urban legend that became popular in the United States during the early 1980s. An American folklorist and a professor emeritus of the University of Utah, Jan Harold Brunvand, in his book ‘The Choking Doberman‘ confirmed that the story is an urban legend, citing all the known variants dating back to 1973. It is also mentioned that an allegedly firsthand account of the story was published in The Globe, an American tabloid, on 10 November 1981. However, a journalist later learned that the woman’s name in the publication was changed and that she had actually heard the story in a beauty parlor.
So it appears like the legend of choking Doberman started as tell-tale stories which went on circulating for decades. Some folklorists believe it is derived from a much older Renaissance era European folk tale of a clumsy burglar who injures his hand while breaking into a house. His intrusion is said to be revealed by the discovery of one or more severed fingers.
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Encyclopedia of Urban Legends, Updated and Expanded Edition By Jan Harold Brunvand