DOG RESCUES SELF AND OWNER THROUGH
USE OF MORSE CODE
“She’s my heroine,” Shelly Shribner told members of the
media as the gathered around her at the press conference
outside her home last Monday afternoon. She hugged her
toy poodle, Gidgette tightly as she spoke.
“I had no idea she knew how to do anything like that,”
Ms. Shribner continued. “She was amazing.”
“Could you explain just how the whole thing happened to
begin with Ms. Shribner,” asked Jonathan J. Hoones of
the United Press.
“I’m not quite sure,” answered Shelly Shribner. “I had
gone down into the basement to put some things into the
washing machine and Gidgette had followed me down. I was
loading the machine when I heard a loud rattling noise.
I assumed that a large truck or something of that sort
was passing. I could feel the vibrations even in the
house. I heard a loud slam and looked up to see that the
door to the basement had slammed shut. I really wasn’t
concerned at the moment; I never in my wildest
imaginations could have dreamed that we were trapped
there. I finished loading my laundry, then went back up
the stairs, Gidgette following close behind me. It was
when I went to open the door that I realized we had a
Cute Gidgette proves
he's a smart dog
I’m not sure exactly what happened, but somehow the
vibrations had caused the door not only to slam shut but
“But wasn’t there some way you could unlock it from your
side of the stairs?” asked Bartholomew Bartlett, of WXYZ,
the local television station.
“There should have been, actually there was in a sense
but somehow it was jammed and well, we were stuck there.
I could feel myself panicking. I do not like being shut
into places, not at all. I am somewhat claustrophobic I
guess, although the subject has never come up before. I
screamed and screamed, but I couldn’t seem to make
anyone hear me. I tried banging on the pipes but there
was no response. I thought I was going to have to wait
there until somebody finally missed me and came to
Then Gidgette sprang into action. She started tapping on
the pipes with her paws. I thought perhaps someone would
hear the sound so I didn’t stop her. Then suddenly I
realized there was some sort of pattern to her tapping.
She would give three short taps, then three longer ones
then three short ones again. It was amazing. The police
told me later this was Morse code. It was the SOS
signal; the signal for help. She did it over and over. I
heard someone call from outside and screamed again, but
by this time my throat was so sore I couldn’t manage to
make myself heard.
The Morse key that
Gidgette used to save his master's life.
Gidgette kept on tapping. The next thing I knew I heard
vehicles pull into my driveway. Gidgette’s tapping
changed. She tapped out where we were. She even told the
police where to find the spare key we had hidden. I had
no idea she knew where it was, much less that she’d be
able to tell any one.”
“Do you have any idea how your dog learned Morse code?”
asked Mr. Bartlett, holding the microphone towards Ms.
“Yes, I think so,” she answered. My husband used to into
ham radio sometime ago, back before we bought the
computer. Gidgette must have learned it from him.
Evidently she took an interest in it.”
“Do you plan to reward her in any way?” asked another
member of the press. “I mean, it seems to me this calls
for a giant T bone steak or something of that sort.”
“Even better,” replied Ms. Schribner. I’m going to buy
her her own ham radio set up and make it canine
At this point, Gidgette reached out a paw and began to
tap on the microphone. “CQ, CQ, CQ,” she tapped.
“Anybody out there? Got your ears on good buddy?”
Everyone present agreed this would be the perfect reward