Skip to comments.The Dog or the Stranger?
Posted on 09/21/2011 12:12:19 PM PDT by MNDude
I just read an Dennis Prager column where he says "I began asking students if they would save their dog or a stranger first if both were drowning. The majority always voted against the stranger because, they explained, they loved their dog and they didnt love the stranger."
I wasn't sure if I cold believe this statement so I did a search on the Internet and found the question posted several times. Many people do say they would save the stranger, however here are how many people answer the question:
Wow, I really don't understand how somebody could save a stranger vs a member of their own family, even if it is 'just' a pet. Just because my dog is not fluent in english, does not make her any less worthy of my love and attention.
"I mean, who cares if a human has a longer lifespan than a dog? I don't know the human that is drowning, and my dog and I have a pretty close connection. Isn't quality vastly favored over quantity anyway? I would rather have 10 years of awesome love, affection, and attention, than 50 years of somebody I don't know living."
"So, what makes you think that the life of a human is more valuable than that of another? Your ego?"
"And what if when the police and paramedics show up, they inform you that they had been looking for that person, because he had killed 3 children, and you had just saved his life. So now your beloved dog is dead, and you just saved a person that likes to murder children; a drain on society - awesome!"
"I'm sure that's what the person will say to me after I get them out of the water. I care that someone is dying you see, it revolves around the value of life itself. What do I gain from losing a beloved pet? Saving the person serves me in no way serves me other than knowing I helped them, doing the right thing and all. "
"I know my pet. I love my pet. My pet may be a different species than me, but my pet is still part of my tribe. A complete stranger is just that -- a complete stranger.
Now, in principle I value human life above the life of an animal, but it doesn't follow that I value the life of any given human above the life of a particular animal.
Or maybe I'm just a monster. I don't really care. I love my pets. I don't know that dude from Adam. Sorry."
"I know...a dog is not a person technically, but emotionally it is to me. There is no way I could let one of my dogs go."
Gotta admit, the dog is my family.
A stranger - if an adult - is responsible for his own safety - and he has nobody to blame but himself for getting in ‘over his head’.
Women and children I would save first. An adult male - sink or swim while I save my dog- THEN I will save him.
Is the stranger wearing an Obama T-Shirt?
Logically speaking, of course, a human's life is worth more than a dog's. However, when humans are operating in a crisis, we don't always behave logically.
Really tough to answer. Two of my dogs I helped whelp, the third is the dam.
What if the generic person was a child? Would the answer change?
Guaranteed the dog did NOT vote for Obama.
Ya don’t know about the “stranger”.
You save the person, not the dog, for the same reason that unborn children should be protected: with rare exceptions, human life has priority over other concerns.
A very good read. Read it.
LOL I’m going to catch “H” for that one I just posted, because somebody is going to hit me on Democrat dogs voting, but OK. Guaranteed the FReeper’s dog didn’t vote for Obama.
I admit, the dilemma would grow if the stranger just came from a car plastered with bumper stickers :)
It’s good to know he can help with the carpooling too.
Wow! I was actually surprised that many people feel that way. I’m curious, any Freepers here that would answer in favor of the dog?
Heh heh. If you were surprised that many people felt that way, then based on FReeper responses...
How do you feel now?
Nobody really knows what they'd do in a situation like this until they're in it.
If my dog is drowning, there’s a pretty good chance its a direct result of my own actions.
Depends...if it was a child, I’d save the child.
I’d have a hard time deciding any other situation, and I think it would be decided only upon being put in that circumstance. Like they say, you never know how you’re going to react until you’re in the situation.
“Saving the person serves me in no way”
And after all, it’s all about ME, isn’t it?
I was at a party once and a similar question was asked except they had a specific person in mind:
Who would you save from drowning?
Hitler or a police dog?
There was one woman who took the side of saving Hitler because he was human and the dog wasn’t
I’m sick of Dennis Prager.
My dogs! DUH. Ain’t nobody’s business to moralize at me. It’s between me and G-d.
“I’m curious, any Freepers here that would answer in favor of the dog?”
You’re kidding right? There have been thousands of posts by people threatening to kill any police officer/stranger/burglar who harmed their pet.
And many, many more posts of people calling for abusers of animals to be put to death.
There are many sick people on FR.
Information might help clear this up.
Most dogs are naturally good swimmers, but many people are not. Lots of cases of dogs who fell off ships and still managed to swim miles to shore. If the dog can’t swim, say because of a swift current, it is likewise too swift for you to do a swimming rescue. So this means throwing a rope or using a pole.
However, beyond these points, anthropomorphism sucks. While you may think of a dog as a beloved member of your family, it is not. It is an animal that will likely only live about 15 years. courts have consistently held that the value of the life of a dog is small, excepting rare pure breeds with a documented *sale* value.
So, if you are not going to rescue the person, don’t, because you don’t want to rescue a person.
This is neither “criminally negligent homicide or manslaughter”, because the law stipulates that, “Criminally negligent manslaughter occurs where there is an omission to act when there is a duty to do so, or a failure to perform a duty owed, which leads to a death. The existence of the duty is essential because the law does not impose criminal liability for a failure to act unless a specific duty is owed to the victim.”
Unless you are a lifeguard, there is no duty to attempt a rescue of a stranger.
I get bothered just pretending to choose, I keep trying to think of a way to save both.
I don’t suppose I know what I would do...
I WOULD be devastated and cry like crazy over the one I couldn’t save.
That I know.
Obama does not qualify as a stranger. We have seen the content of his character, and I doubt any FReeper would fault you for saving your dog.
Its a question that only an urbanite could come up with.
Dogs are natural swimmers and generally do OK in open water and will head for shore.
Sad to say it but it would be the dog. Sorry humans, you had your chance. You blew it. The dog was good to me, always.
A better hypothetical.
If your child is drowning and a stranger is drowning but there is virtually no hope of saving the child, who do you try to save?
I think we all would die trying to save the child which would then leave the stranger to die.
I’d save the one that I can get to easiest. I would do whatever I could to save either.
Me. I don’t call my dogs “my Kids” for nothing. Used to have a sign in my office, “The more people I meet, the more I love my dog”.
Well, it should be a no-brainer, but this past century has unraveled our basic Christian principles and the Golden Rule has apparently become antiquated as far as most people are concerned. We all know the right answer is to save the human, as we are the ones created in the image of our Creator. But, then again, I think many professing Christians these days have been taught so little Truth from the Bible, and so much “feel good” tripe that they have become morally crippled. We cannot make moral decisions automatically, as we once could. Thank heavens our troops do not act in this way. This is why our troops are praised for their compassionate efforts among the civilian populations where they serve. They even rescue enemy combatants who are injured and treat them. They’d be shot by most other country’s troops. This was once one of the components of American exceptionalism. Are we losing this?
It is common throughout human history to kill a person if they deliberately kill your dog/horse/pig/cow/livestock/etc.
What a bunch of good Nazis some of us Freepers would be with those answers. Love our dogs tenderly while mercilessly carrying out the standing order to crush the heads of fellow humans against brick walls, or shoot them if no brick wall is convenient.
I am sure that in real life the outcome would be more humane — those who state they’d save their beloved dog first are in imaginary scenario would in real life be found to risk their lives first for a stranger.
I would thus ask this as a simpler question, one with less imaginary emotional content. Your house is on fire and you left your cell phone in the house. At the same instant you see the fire you observe a stranger drowning in a nearby public pond. What do you do?
A dog is not a cell phone, and a cell phone is not a dog.
I would go for the human first. That said, if my dog was drowning, even though he can swim very well and has a strong sense of self-preservation, then the situation would be one of raging flood waters. The same would be true for most dogs. In that case, it would be neither. Swift water rescue is very dangerous without proper equipment, ie, being on a line.
I care for my dog but I keep in mind that he is a dog and not a person. He’s a very quick learner...if you’re in the market for a dog pick a belgian malinois, smartest dog I’ve had.People and their dogs can be fairly irritating when the owner doesn’t believe that to be the case. My sister treats her dog as a child who can do no wrong and is insulted when people find the dog irritating (I have a new couch from the last visit - the dog cannot be left at a boarder, the horror...)
And I certainly wouldn't be able to look his wife and children in the eye and try to explain to them why I let him die just to save my dog........or cat.
For those who say their dog, if both they and their dog were in danger, who would THEY want me to save?
Yes, I know the right answer is rescue the human. It’s still doesn’t make the answer easy.
Here’s maybe a more real life scenario. Your dog needs a $1000 operation to save its life. A stranger needs $1000 worth of meds to save their life. The stranger isn’t someone you can directly see as needing help, but I’m sure there’s at least one person somewhere in the world that is close to this circumstance. Now what do we do? Is this different than the original question?
My dogs without question. They are much more than pets, they are my family.
They are each loyal to me without regard for themselves, choosing to serve as both companion and guardian with never a complaint or demand beyond scratch their heads or fill up the food bowl.
I am completely unworthy of their ever vigilant faithfulness, but I will return their loyalty to me by being ever loyal to them.
I honestly think the question/results demonstrate just how far removed from reality and the reality of human life and frailty so many “moderns” really are. If you’ve spent any time whatsoever “in the wild”, say.....3 days walk out of wilds to the nearest road, you know you’re going to save the “stranger” over the dog because in terms of “usefulness” to human survival, the “human stranger” trumps the dog every time.
Yup. I just stepped on my dog’s foot and all he wanted to do was get on my lap and forgive me.
I lived and grew up “in the wild”. Log cabin, no electricity, hunting and fishing, chopping down trees, etc.
I also have lived in very urban settings.
In both you will find the greatest threat to you and your families survival and well being is other human beings “strangers” - and one of the greatest assets to you and your families survival and well being is a trusted and useful canine.
Now a trusted and useful human trumps the canine in almost any given situation - but how likely is it that a drowning stranger is or will become a trusted and useful asset?
That’s a very real scenario. It is happening all around us, every day. It’s different than the original example or even my later example.
And I, unlike Mr, Prager, am not being paid to discuss this topic. My answers are not deeply researched, as he would with his.
In your example any person could provide the meds to save a life. In Prager’s example ONLY YOU have a chance to rescue the stranger.
In any case my major objection to such hypothetical questions is that they are hypothetical. People make different decisions in real life.
It is a valid objection to saving the strangers life that one is more sure one can rescue the dog safely, yet the attempt of a rescue of a stranger in the water is fraught with far more unknown dangers. The stranger is heavier, stronger than your typical dog.
But in such cases you can often rescue the stranger by not endangering yourself — you can use a branch, a swimming pool cleaning pole, a rope, a blanket rolled up to extend to the stranger.
In my example I ask this ... do you run to the garage for the cell phone, or run to see if there is something with which you can save the stranger?
In any case — in all these cases — to ignore the clear plight of a fellow human in distress who has no one else to provide help or rescue in order that one may not be bothered, is heartless and inhumane.
The questions of what to do in such emergency situations are a matter not of that immediate instance, but rather of one’s whole life. The old school Scout Motto “Be Prepared”!
A person who trains and prepares him or herself to deal with water emergencies or other types of emergencies can be expected to find a way to rescue both human and dog.
The house will be lost unless the fire department can be notified by the cellphone.
There is much truth in that.
I agree with you, I just don’t know that my scenario is so very differnt from the original question. I think it boils down to the fact that you have resources that you can use to save your dog or save a person. We’re fairly assured that there are people in the world whose lives can be saved with the same amount of money. And just because most of the time they aren’t presented just within reach I don’t know that that makes it different. I guess the best we can do is hope that we can live with the decisions we make. But yes, I hate hypotheticals and this is why. :)
Here's my newest boy..