Dog Eats Toe to Save a Life & Other Health Reasons Fido Rocks

Sasha Brown-Worsham

We've all heard the excuse about the dog and the homework, but how about the one about the dog who ate a man's toe and saved his life?

It sounds insane, but apparently it's true.

Jerry Douthett of Rockford, Michigan, had an infected toe, which (like many men) he refused to see a doctor about. One night, after a bit of drinking, he woke to find his dog, Kiko, licking her chops and his big toe missing.

The craziest part of all?

Had Kiko not chewed off the infection, it likely would have spread, possibly killing him in the process. And while the story may sound unusual, it has long been known that having a dog is generally good for your health.


  • Dogs get you out moving: Obviously dogs need walks and they need to romp outside. The likelihood then of you also getting out to walk or run is much higher if the pup needs to poop.
  • Dogs reduce stress: Recent studies have shown that heart patients who have regular visits from therapeutic dogs have lower anxiety, stress, and heart and lung pressure.
  • Dogs reduce chronic health issues: There is strong evidence to suggest that dog owners have lower blood pressure and lower cholesterol and are less likely to have minor and serious health problems.
  • Dogs keep you safe: A thief is much less likely to break into a home where there is a dog because it isn't worth the risk (barking and biting). Same goes for late night walks or long hikes. Safer with a dog.

My dog and I haven't seen eye to eye in recent years (OK, truthfully: since my kids were born), but I've recently started running with him again on occasion and walking him more. His behavior has been so much better. He's like a different dog.

It's a give and take, of course, and there are times I forget just what a valuable member of my family my little chi-pin is. After all, who would eat my toe should I ever need it removed?

What does your dog do for you?

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