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Man with dog (Thinkstock)
Man with dog (Thinkstock)

Man saves dog in boating mishap before rescuing his wife Add to ...

You know that old adage about dogs being man’s best friend? Some dog owners are taking it way too seriously.

Case in point: The recent incident of a man who actually rescued his dog before his wife when their boat nearly capsized in rough waters.

Earlier this week, Graham Anley and his wife, Sheryl, were peacefully sailing along the shores of South Africa when they unexpectedly ran into treacherous waters near the Transkei Coast.

As the couple bravely battled roiling waves up to seven metres in height, their boat was swept onto the reef and the only option was to abandon ship.

What Anley did next was either a case of beyond-the-norm dog love or complete disregard for his spouse. Or possibly both.

Instead of taking his wife to safety first, Anley instinctively grabbed their nine-year-old Jack Russell terrier, Rosie, which was wearing a customized doggie-life jacket complete with emergency strobe lighting, and quickly swam her ashore (for the record, Jack Russells are terrific swimmers).

Once the pooch was out of harm’s way, he returned to the foundering ship to rescue his wife, whose safety line had snagged on the steering gear. Anley, who is also a sea-rescue volunteer, then used his mobile phone to call for assistance.

A rescue helicopter airlifted the couple and Rosie to a nearby rescue base. The Anleys are planning to revisit the reef later this week to see what they can salvage of their 36-foot yacht.

Whether or not Mrs. Anley is miffed at her husband for rescuing the dog first was not revealed, but wouldn’t you love to watch her face when they retell the story to family and friends?

But who are we anyway to question the undeniable connection between canines and their owners? Consider the recent study by Japanese researchers showing that dogs find their owners’ yawns more contagious than those of strangers.

The study conducted at the University of Tokyo required 25 dog owners to yawn at their pets and take note of how many times the dogs yawned back.

Then the researchers repeated the same experiment but replaced each owner with a stranger.

The result: Roughly half the dogs, including a pit bull, a Pekingese and a greyhound, were completely oblivious to the yawns; the other half, including a Siberian husky, German shepherd and several breeds of poodles, yawned the most.

The conclusion of scientists was that not only did the dogs find the yawns contagious, but they yawned a whole lot more when yawned at by their owners.

“Our results make it likely that there’s an empathic basis to contagious yawning,” said evolutionary biologist Teresa Romero. “It’s modulated by emotional attachment with the owner.”

For those who think that contagious yawning might be a common experience in the animal kingdom, guess again. Back in 2011, an Austrian team attempted the same yawning experiment with tortoises. They failed miserably.

And what are the lessons gleaned from these two stories? Always steer clear of rocky waters when boating. And don’t bore your dog.

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