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Darwin Awards
1999 Urban Legends
Email a Friend The following stories are apocryphal. They are included on the Darwin Awards website because they are inspirational narratives of the astounding efforts of legendary Darwin Awards contenders. Next
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The Dog and the Jeep  
1999 Urban Legend

Classic Urban Legend

A fellow from Michigan buys himself a brand-new $30,000 Jeep Grand Cherokee for Christmas. He goes down to his favorite bar and celebrates by tossing down a few too many brews with his buddies. In one of those male-bonding rituals, five of them decide to take his new vehicle for a test drive on a duck hunting expedition. They load up the Jeep with the dog, the guns, the decoys, and the beer, and head out to a nearby lake.

Now, it's the dead of winter, and of course the lake is frozen, so they need to make a hole in the ice to create a natural landing area for the ducks and decoys. It is common practice in Michigan to drive your vehicle out onto the frozen lake, and it is also common (if slightly illegal) to make a hole in the ice using dynamite. Our fellows have nothing to worry about on that score, because one member of the party works for a construction team, and happens to have brought some dynamite along. The stick has a short 20-second fuse.

The group is ready for some action. They're all set up. Their shotguns are loaded with duck pellets, and they have beer, warm clothes and a hunting dog. Still chugging down a seemingly bottomless supply of six-packs, the group considers how to safely dynamite a hole through the ice. One of these rocket scientists points out that the dynamite should explode at a location far from where they are standing. Another notes the risk of slipping on the ice when running away from a burning fuse. So they eventually settle on a plan to light the fuse and throw the dynamite out onto the ice.

There is a bit of contention over who has the best throwing arm, and eventually the owner of the Jeep wins that honor. Once that question is settled, he walks about 20 feet further out onto the ice and holds the stick of dynamite at the ready while one of his companions lights the fuse with a Zippo. As soon as he hears the fuse sizzle, he hurls it across the ice at a great velocity and runs in the other direction.

Unfortunately, a member of another species spots his master's arm motions and comes to an instinctive decision. Remember a couple of paragraphs back when I mentioned the vehicle, the beer, the guns and the dog? Yes, the dog: a trained Black Labrador, born and bred for retrieving, especially things thrown by his owner. As soon as the stick leaves his hand, the dog sprints across the ice, hell-bent on wrapping his jaws around the enticing stick-shaped object.

Five frantic fellows immediately begin hollering at the dog, trying to get him to stop chasing the dynamite. Their cries fall on deaf ears. Before you know it, the retriever is headed back to his owner, proudly carrying the stick of dynamite with the burning 20-second fuse. The group continues to yell and wave their arms while the happy dog trots towards them. In a desperate act, its master grabs his shotgun and fires at his own dog.

The gun is loaded with duck shot, and confuses the dog more than it hurts him. Bewildered, he continues towards his master, who shoots at man's best friend again. Finally comprehending that his owner has become insane, the dog runs for cover with his tail between his legs. And the nearest cover is right under the brand-new Jeep Grand Cherokee.

Boom! The dog and the Jeep are blown to bits, and sink to the bottom of the lake, leaving a large ice hole in their wake. The stranded men stand staring at the water with stupid looks on their faces, and the owner of the Jeep is left to explain the misadventure to his insurance company. Needless to say, they determined that sinking a vehicle in a lake by illegal use of explosives is not covered under their policy, and the owner is still making $400 monthly payments on his brand-new Jeep at the bottom of the lake.

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Reference: Many urban legends circulating in email and on the internet, including Australian writer Henry Lawson's tale, "The Loaded Dog"

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