Do Dogs Commit Suicide?

In the past six months five dogs have fallen to their death off a bridge in Dumbarton, Scotland. This fact does not seem to be disputed. What is controversial is whether or not the dogs fell because they committed suicide. Or did they think they saw something and accidentally leapt? In the most recent case a woman claims that she was out walking her dog when it suddenly ran away from her "vaulted over the parapet and plunged 40ft to its death."

Some animal behaviorists are dismissing the notion that suicide was the cause of the dogs' deaths, arguing that dogs never commit suicide. Personally, I'm not sure what to think. I did once hear about a dog who was so despondent after its master died that it walked out to some train tracks and lay there until a train ran it over. However, I'll concede that this story may be an urban legend because I can't remember where I heard it. And I doubt that five dogs in a row would commit suicide in the same place. However, this bridge in Dumbarton does have a spooky history. In 1994 a guy threw his two-week-old son off of it, believing that the child was the Antichrist. So believers in the supernatural are having a field day with this case.

Animals Death

Posted on Mon Mar 07, 2005



Comments

I spotted this story on Rotten.com, and deemed it worthy enough to print out for my Weird File.

There are all sorts of possible explanations for the dogs' behavior, many totally rational and prosaic. I wonder if perhaps the dog suicides are being caused by some kind of subsonic or supersonic phenomenon that's centered on the bridge, that scrambles their little brains (humans couldn't hear it, outside of human range). It could be sounds that are filtering up out of the underground, due to some kind of weird seismic activity.

I've heard a story of a bull that would go nuts and act very aggressively because a nearby satellite dish was making supersonic noises that were driving him up the wall, could be something similar.
Posted by Barghest  on  Mon Mar 07, 2005  at  11:17 PM
The REAL question is not if dogs commit suicide but if they leave suicide NOTES.
Posted by Cranky Media Guy  on  Tue Mar 08, 2005  at  01:43 AM
All dogs are from the same area, so it looks to me they all belonged to the same sect. Dogs are re
Posted by Unfairly Balanced  in  Earth  on  Tue Mar 08, 2005  at  03:02 AM
Hmmm, I saw this in the paper.

Not convinced that it's suicide.
Posted by Boo  in  The Land of the Haggii...  on  Tue Mar 08, 2005  at  05:00 AM
Both articles mention 5 dogs leaping to their deaths but actually only chronicle witnessing one incident. There are no pictures. Is it possible that there is some unusual arrangement of the terrain that, from a dogs point of view, it appears that there is solid ground on the other side of the parapet? I'm only speculating that maybe the drop is not apparent to the dog until it is too late. Perhaps there is some strange acoustic anomoly that makes it sound like there is something on the other side of the parapet that aroused the dog's curiosity. Perhaps it's silly to speculate about the cause of 5 apparent dog suicides before someone has confirmed the circumstances of all 5 incidents if there were indeed 5 incidents.
It wouldn't be the first time that something that has happened "more than once" gets reported as having happened 5 or a dozen or pick-a-number times and everyone gets wrapped up in trying to associate a cause when the phenomenon itself has never been confirmed.
Posted by Blondin  on  Tue Mar 08, 2005  at  08:42 AM
Blondin, the paper (Scottish Daily Star, shamefully) ran a photo of the owner of the latest dog standing on the bridge looking mournful.

It's difficult to tell what the view of the terrain is like from the bridge, as they shot it from below, but it didn't look to me like there could be much of a possibility of the terrain being confusing.

Gosh, that was vague, wasn't it?

I'm trying to find the picture, though.
Posted by Boo  in  The Land of the Haggii...  on  Tue Mar 08, 2005  at  09:10 AM
I agree with Blondin. Are there really 4 other cases of dogs falling(or leaping)to their deaths that can be verified some way?
Posted by JoeSixpack  on  Tue Mar 08, 2005  at  09:21 AM
Well, that's what I'm suspicious about.

Both printed and online, there has been absolutely no reference to the other people involved. Not a name, not whether they were local or visitors, nothing. And if they were all stray dogs (fairly unlikely) then how does anyone know? I mean, did there happen to be witnesses to all of them? Because the witnesses aren't mentioned either.
Did they find the bodies of the dogs under the bridge? Because that's no proof...
etc etc

It just seems a bit urban legendy to me, although six months is an awfully short time for an urban legend to spring up, if you see what I mean.
However, since the area is a lot less rural than it was, being almost a part of Glasgow these days, it will be a lot easier for 'friend of a friend' type stories to circulate.
Posted by Boo  in  The Land of the Haggii...  on  Tue Mar 08, 2005  at  09:31 AM
Oh c'mon, it's obvious that they were trying to catch the spirit of the baby that was thrown off. 😉 Why look for another explanation?
Posted by winona  on  Tue Mar 08, 2005  at  10:24 AM
Don't be so superstitious, winona. The rational explanation is that this is obviously all the work of Satan. Satan was down there beneath the bridge, telling the dogs to jump.
Posted by The Curator  in  San Diego  on  Tue Mar 08, 2005  at  10:29 AM
Oh, c'mon, this isn't suicide; the dogs are just stupid, or clumsy.

However, if you're interested in this subject, a couple of years ago I read a book entitled "The Beast in Boudoir" (the author's name escapes me at the moment), about pets in 19th-century France, which details many legends and newspaper reports about suicidal dogs and cats, pets that willingly sacrificed themselves to save their owners (or sometimes strangers), dogs that sat by their late owners' graves mourning for decades, and so on. Pretty engrossing stuff.
Posted by Big Gary C  on  Tue Mar 08, 2005  at  10:54 AM
I had a dog once that committed suicide. He ate a large amount of rat poison. Of course the rat poison was mixed in with a peanut butter like mixture so it would taste good to the rats. Does that still count?

Regardless, we sued the bastards that put it there.
Posted by Gentropy  on  Tue Mar 08, 2005  at  11:05 AM
Gentropy, that wasn't suicide, it was assassination (unless you really believe the dog knew he was eating poison).
Posted by Big Gary C  on  Tue Mar 08, 2005  at  11:10 AM
When I drive past Roddy Parthemer's farm, his guinea fowl try and throw themselves beneath my wheels. I have to drive by VERY slowly. I think it's a brood-protection instinct. Drives me crazy.
Posted by Hairy Houdini  on  Tue Mar 08, 2005  at  12:05 PM
Maybe someone posessed by the baby is throwing the dogs off?? Makes sense to me.
Posted by sbnature  on  Tue Mar 08, 2005  at  12:08 PM
Well, I think we've located the cause of the suicides. It's Hairy. Or should I say 'He Who Drives Animals to Suicide'.
Posted by The Curator  in  San Diego  on  Tue Mar 08, 2005  at  12:14 PM
That's not funny. I had the same effect on the crowd when I was a Blues Musician. I'd say, "well, it's the blues". People'd say: "No, Hairy, you suck". I get no respect.
Posted by Hairy Houdini  on  Tue Mar 08, 2005  at  12:20 PM
Hey- Maybe that's the cause... perhaps someone near the bridge is playing The Blues... by Blind Melon Bagpipes, perhaps. Or else somebody there in Scotland has my album...
Posted by Hairy Houdini  on  Tue Mar 08, 2005  at  12:25 PM
"Angus, let's go walkies with Geedub.", "But first, a wee bit-o-The Blues, by Skunk Willy and The Original Rhythm Slaves". "Ah, luver-ly... tarn it oop, lad!"
Posted by Hairy Houdini  on  Tue Mar 08, 2005  at  12:29 PM
blues played on bagpipes would make me suicidal
Posted by JoeSixpack  on  Tue Mar 08, 2005  at  12:29 PM
There was a comedy skit on the old SNL TV show, which featured Doggy Downers for hyper canines, and Puppy Uppers for listless pooches. Mutt elevators, as it were.
Posted by Hairy Houdini  on  Tue Mar 08, 2005  at  12:50 PM
What's wrong, pooch? "I doont know... it all seems soo pointless... I mean, what's it all aboot, Angus? I'm joost tired..." Ah, cheer up, pooch. Let's go for a walk, eh?
Posted by Hairy Houdini  on  Tue Mar 08, 2005  at  12:59 PM
Could this all have something to do with the prozac they reportedly put in the water, over there in the UK?

http://www.museumofhoaxes.com/hoax/weblog/permalink/prozac_water/

Instead of making the dogs mellow, it's turning a few of them suicidal. Nah... it's probably the bagpipe blues.
Posted by The Curator  in  San Diego  on  Tue Mar 08, 2005  at  01:09 PM
hmm... dolphins beached off Florida... dogs depressed in Scotland... suicidal guinea fowl in Pennsylvania... it all fits, now doesn't it? Raoul has been busy.
Posted by Hairy Houdini  on  Tue Mar 08, 2005  at  01:18 PM
I have an brilliant idea for scientific reasearch or book - "Suicide - hidden force behind Evolution"
Posted by Loxx  on  Tue Mar 08, 2005  at  01:23 PM
Is there a law against giving your dog prozac? If I had a dog I'd probably give him all my expired medication and then sell him on Ebay as possessed or something.

As far as bagpipe blues...I'll have to try and find some to go with my death polka collection. Of course who knows what side effects it will have on all the neurotic pets in my neighborhood.
Posted by Gentropy  on  Tue Mar 08, 2005  at  01:24 PM
HAIRY LEGAL DISCLAIMER(read really fast): "HH does not approve of, or suggest a need for, at any time, giving animals drugs or herbal kibbles, or subjecting them to bagpipe blues" Dogs are people, too.
Posted by Hairy Houdini  on  Tue Mar 08, 2005  at  01:34 PM
hey- wait. That's it... aren't bagpipes basically giant dog whistles? Haarreee Haaarrreee Good Lord... I'd jump, blues or not HAAARRREEEEE HAAARRREEEE. See?
Posted by Hairy Houdini  on  Tue Mar 08, 2005  at  01:37 PM
Perhaps some laddie should play bagpipe blues at the shores of Loch Ness, in the hope of getting Nessie to beach himself. Or through himself under your wheels, at least.
Posted by Hairy Houdini  on  Tue Mar 08, 2005  at  01:39 PM
HAIRY LEGAL DISCLAIMER #2 (read even faster): "HH at no time means to infer that he approves of harm to Nessie, nor does he mean to suggest that Scottish music sucks" Plesiosaurs are people, too.
Posted by Hairy Houdini  on  Tue Mar 08, 2005  at  01:42 PM
Someone asked if it's illegal to give a dog prozac- actually I've heard of vets perscribing it!

Also my boyfriend's aunt had a beagle that hung itself on her back porch one Easter.
Posted by Katey  on  Tue Mar 08, 2005  at  03:30 PM
Well, you know how depression goes up on holidays.. 😊
Posted by winona  on  Tue Mar 08, 2005  at  04:04 PM
;o; awww....Those poor doggies! I just feel for them....>_< but if they chose to die on their own will then....I guess there's nothing we can do about it.
Poor doggies ...
and i do believe animals will commit suicide. remember the love bird stories? If one bird dies, the other one just wilts away ....same logic.
Humans aren't that different from animals, in fact, we ARE animals. so what's so surprising if they get depressed too?
Posted by Mika  on  Tue Mar 08, 2005  at  05:49 PM
But, besides ill treatment, what would drive a dog to suicide? I mean, the Old Mother Hubbard story is pretty depressing, empty cupboard and all that...
Posted by Hairy Houdini  on  Tue Mar 08, 2005  at  06:03 PM
plus, the : Doggy-Denigration language thing, as in: "Work like a dog", "You dog", "Dirty Dog", "Egg-suckin' dog"... you get the picture...
Posted by Hairy Houdini  on  Tue Mar 08, 2005  at  06:06 PM
Low self-esteem might explain the whole Crotch-sniffin', ball-licking thing too, eh? Same thing happened to my cousin.
Posted by Hairy Houdini  on  Tue Mar 08, 2005  at  06:09 PM
perhaps... they saw a bone in the water, and mistook it to be in the mouth of their own reflection, and, thinking it was another dog, dove in out of envy
Posted by Hairy Houdini  on  Tue Mar 08, 2005  at  06:12 PM
perhaps... they finally realized how far they had evolved from the simple, free ranging canines of eons past, never to run with the pack, to hunt, to howl at The Moon...
Posted by Hairy Houdini  on  Tue Mar 08, 2005  at  06:15 PM
perhaps... they knew that the time for change was long past, that they were forever locked in a role of subservience, no longer true sons of Canus
Posted by Hairy Houdini  on  Tue Mar 08, 2005  at  06:18 PM
or maybe they were just crazy dogs... Dogs ARE crazy... ever try and talk Politics with one? They get all mad and foam at the mouth- like Republicans
Posted by Hairy Houdini  on  Tue Mar 08, 2005  at  06:20 PM
>>>Oh, c'mon, this isn't suicide; the dogs are just stupid, or clumsy.<<<

Yeah, but the dogs leapt over the railing and off the bridge. That goes beyond just being clumsy and stupid, it takes an effort and an act of will. Lots of people are clumsy and stupid, but the great majority of them somehow manage not to deliberately jump off bridges....
Posted by Barghest  on  Tue Mar 08, 2005  at  07:21 PM
We used to have to drive up a single paved lane to our housing area at Edgewood Arsenal, MD. On spring & summer evenings, I would encounter a family of Boobies (they're birds), that would swoop down out of their nests to attack my approaching car. Of course, they were just trying to defend their young, but we used to call them "suicide birds", because they would fly underneath the front of the car, right in front of the moving tires, squawking their damn fool heads off. They came really close, but we never saw a dead one.
Posted by stork  in  the spiracles of space  on  Tue Mar 08, 2005  at  07:48 PM
Okay, here's my take on this. I read 9 news stories on the net. Granted, they were mostly people just paraphrasing the original.
BUT...
Nary a picture (except a dog with a fake knife through his head) was to be found.
Every one of the articles mentioned Overtoun House (http://www.overtounhouse.com/sitemap.html).
All but two mentioned the guy who is trying to turn this house into a religious retreat.
This started the gears grinding a little...

Now get this... Six months ago, (http://www.wdcweb.info/news/DisplayArticle.asp?ID=5343
happened.

Does it appear to anyone else that this guy might have something to do with the stories? Wouldn't it be so much easier to raise money if the christians worldwide knew of you, instead of just people in Scotland?

Not saying this is what happened, but hey, ya never know. Bagpipe music'll drive ya nuts in so many ways...
Posted by Rod  in  the land of smarties.  on  Tue Mar 08, 2005  at  11:26 PM
God, you should try living here in Edinburgh where, all summer, you can hear a set of bagpipes at all times of the day, no matter your location.
It's all the bloody tourists' fault.

Ahem.
Rod, I'm with you. He sounds fishy.

Although I wonder what suicidal dogs will do for his... religion.
Posted by Boo  in  The Land of the Haggii...  on  Wed Mar 09, 2005  at  02:21 AM
I slooshied about this odin raskazz where some lewdies I used to know used to have dva pet rats. The dva rats were best droogs. They were such horrorshow droogs, in fact, that when odin of them snuffed it, the other odin somehow mananged to razrez its ookoes off of its gulliver! And if a rat can commit suicide, then so can a dog.
Posted by John  on  Wed Mar 09, 2005  at  05:34 AM
Whales beach themselves sometimes, and no one knows why. I do know it happens to dolphins sometimes-they hunt in shallow water and a wave carries them to land without them expecting it. But larger whales are a mystery. They have no reason to be so close to land.

Also, there was this aquarium in the 70s that had a great white shark. It went crazy trying to escape and kept bashing its head against the walls of the tank until it died.
Posted by Laser Potato  on  Wed Mar 09, 2005  at  08:23 AM
...Hairy, you need a disclaimer for bagpipes. Bagpipes used to be people too!
Posted by Maegan  in  Tampa, FL - USA  on  Wed Mar 09, 2005  at  08:29 AM
Maybe the dogs are aiming for the guy who's opening the "retreat" and just keep missing.

Maybe they know something we don't... like ouch, the ground is hard and people don't stay in the same spot for long (oh yeah, we already know that). Maybe these are brave scientist dogs, testing the limits of canine knowledge, or searching for the mythical "Lost Boner of Batman". They think they see it, and, well, you know uncontrollable dogs get when excited...

"Rowf! Ratran's Roner! Rowf! Must get it!"
Sproing.
Splat.
Posted by Rod  in  the land of smarties.  on  Wed Mar 09, 2005  at  09:36 AM
John
Posted by Nymph  on  Wed Mar 09, 2005  at  11:22 AM
It's the "language" created for "A Clockwork Orange".

Check it out here: http://www.totse.com/en/ego/science_fiction/clockorg.html
Posted by Rod  in  the land of smarties.  on  Wed Mar 09, 2005  at  11:35 AM
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