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GAMBLE: A man, a wife, a dog and a decision

Features column

T. Gamble

T. Gamble

There may be no bond stronger than that of man and dog, except perhaps woman and dog. Man may be dog’s best friend but it appears, at least to woman, he ranks even higher.

I make this statement after reading about Graham Anley, who was yachting off the coast of South Africa when his boat overturned. With him at the time were his wife and faithful dog, Rosie, a Jack Russell Terrier.

Graham decided to rescue his dog first and come back later to rescue his beloved wife. I understand his funeral is set for next Wednesday.

No, actually, he survived the boat disaster … and the fact he chose Rosie over his wife. Those yacht people are, after all, a rather odd lot and some reports indicate his wife agreed with his decision to save Rosie first.

Well, that — in and of itself — is an amusing story, but when reading about this in a column written by Robert M. Sapolsky in the Wall Street Journal ( I know, what in God’s name am I doing reading the Wall Street Journal?) he pointed out a study that was conducted to see just how attached we really are to our pets.

This study by Richard Topolski of George Regents University asked 500 people if they saw a person and their own beloved dog about to be run over by a bus and could push aside only one saving their life, which would it be, the dog or the person?

My first impulse is to ask what type university is George Regents to run such a survey to begin with? Before long they’ll be asking if you could kill only one of your neighbors, which one would it be?

Well, anyway, when asked to choose between a close relative, friend or spouse, or the dog, the study found that most times the person was picked. I note that is “most times.” I don’t know who said, “Aw, to hell with Mama. Let’s save Fluffy,” but apparently someone did.

When the question was changed to say choose between a foreign tourist and your favorite dog, which would you push out of the way, 46 percent of women said too bad for the little old lady from Bosnia and welcome home, Fido.

That’s right. Almost half of all women would save their dog over an unknown human being. I suspect the percentage would reach 100 percent if asked ex-husband or your favorite dog. For that matter, any man versus favorite dog would probably top 50 percent.

I guess a few conclusions can be drawn from this survey.

First, never walk in front of a bus beside a dog. There is an almost 50 percent chance you will be pushed aside to save the dog.

If you must walk beside the dog, make sure you are at least somewhat acquainted with the owner or make sure your life insurance is paid up.

Don’t attend George Regents University unless you enjoy answering questions like “If you had to poison one of your grandmothers, which would it be and why?”

If you must choose between your wife and your dog, it helps to own a yacht and sail around South Africa. I have a feeling if you turn over the pontoon boat in the pond behind the house and save Fido over your wife, ultimately you’ll won’t have the wife, the boat or the dog. That comes from an informal survey of southern Georgia girls whom say when a husband chooses Fido over lover, what do you do? One-hundred percent said D.I.V.O.R.C.E.

Email T. Gamble at t@colliergamble.com.