Claim: A man left entertaining his girlfriend's dog throws a ball out her highrise apartment window, with the dog in hot pursuit.
There's the story of the guy meeting his girlfriend. As it is his first date with her, he tries to impress by playing with her puppy, which she is totally devoted to. Anyway, she goes into the bedroom to finish getting dressed while he plays ball in the living room with the dog. Whilst play catch, the ball bounces over the balcony, and the dog follows. The apartment is on the top floor. While he is looking over the edge at the grizzly remains of Fluffy, the girlfriend comes out of her bedroom saying, "Where's my little girl then?" Ooops.
[Reader's Digest, 1972]
Author Truman Capote told a story about a blind date a friend of his once had. When the friend arrived, his date wasn't ready and invited him to wait in the living room while she finished dressing. She had a Great Dane, and the man amused himself while he waited by tossing a ball to the dog and waiting for him to retrieve it. By accident, he threw the ball out the window, and he dog went after
After Capote told this story, comedienne Elaine May suggested what he might have said. "During dinner," Elaine volunteered, "he could have looked at his date and said, "You know, your dog seemed very depressed to
Origins: The legend at hand is a tale of a date gone horribly wrong. There are certain things you just can't do on a first outing, and killing your date's dog is one of them. Usually this legend ends with the pooch lying dead in the street and the man trying to figure out what (if anything) he's going to say to his girl. The audience of course realizes that no matter what course of action the man chooses, his date will find out what really happened, and that will be the end of this twosome.
Such tales are a way of harmlessly airing first date anxieties by reassuring ourselves that others have had it far worse than we're ever likely to known. Meeting a new person and perhaps being left at a loss for what to say or a graceful way to say it pales in comparison to a dating disaster such as sending a gal's treasured animal companion sailing out a highrise window. In an odd way, such legends are actually comforting.
Though this story is well-traveled now, it's possible it began life as a Truman Capote anecdote. Those who recall hearing him relate the tale swear he told it on the Tonight Show, where he supposedly regaled Johnny Carson with a story of
Did the "pooch in pursuit of the ball" tragedy really happen to someone of Capote's acquaintance? We'll never know now that the man is no longer with us (Capote died in 1984) and therefore can't direct us to his hapless unnamed friend for confirmation. Events could have unfolded as described, but it's equally likely this skilled storyteller wove the tale out of whole cloth, or that in true urban legend fashion he picked up the story from someone else, then personalized it when reaching for an amusing tale to entertain folks with by starring "a friend" in the main role. But whatever involvement Capote had with this tale back in the early 1970s, the story itself has gone on to be told as true about countless other people and thus qualifies as an urban legend.
In 1992, a related news article of dubious veracity found its way into a folklore newsletter.
A related legend about an anxious suitor who manages to kill the family dog by accidentally sitting on it is briefly mentioned on our broken sink page.
Barbara "sirius social blunder" Mikkelson
Sightings: This legend plays out in the 1998 film There's Something About Mary. Numerous readers have also mentioned seeing it in the 1981 film Under the Rainbow.
An episode of television's The Jeffersons ("Dog-Gone," episode #170) featured George Jefferson's losing the pampered pooch he'd agreed to babysit in the manner described in this legend. The legend was also used in an episode of television's Coach ("Poodle Springs," original air date
Last updated: 27 April 2014
Brunvand, Jan Harold. The Choking Doberman. New York: W. W. Norton, 1984. ISBN 0-393-30321-7 (pp. 96-97). Santulli, Mike. "Puppy Jumps Off High-Rise Balcony." FOAFTale News. June 1992 (pp. 11-12). Reader's Digest. "Laughter, The Best Medicine." May 1972 (pp. 131-132). The Big Book of Urban Legends. New York: Paradox Press, 1994. ISBN 1-56389-165-4 (p. 52).