The classic 'Who would you save, your drowning dog or a stranger?' question

…And you only have time to save one of them.
Seriously. Who would you save?

(for those of you who have no dog, just imagine how it would be if you did have one)

And no, don’t say your dog can swim. A common way to get out of answering this question. Doesn’t matter if can swim or not. At the moment he happens to be drowning, not swimming.

You’re standing on a piece of land that juts out into the water. The person to the left, the dog to the right. Both an equal distance away, but too far to save both.
Who do you save? And why?

This sort of question, There is no right or wrong answer. Both answers would be justified. The focus is meant to be put upon the meaning behind the question, not the hypothetical.
The real question: whose life do you care more about? Your dog, or a complete stranger? Screw the drowning scenario, screw trying to find a way to save them both (and dodge the question, incidentally), just which life is more important to you?

But putting it in a situation, lets say they are both drowning.
Who do you save?

I’d save my dog over a stranger, for reasons I shall explain tomorrow.

Who: The stranger.
Why: Because I feel that human life is intrinsically more valuable than canine life. The question you posed tries to make it more personal by making it your dog versus a stranger, but that person is someone else’s son or daughter, mother or father, sister or brother, husband or wife. The person is more valuable to someone than the dog is to anyone.

I value the stranger over my dog. In fact, I would normally value any human life over any non-human life.

Tough choice.

I am familiar with my dog, and have an emotional bond with him. I would see his pain and wish it to end.

The stranger… Hard to say. He could be anybody, mass murderer, the one that was threw my dog in the water to watch him drown, only he fell in as well, anything really.

If the dog is young, and the stranger old, it could be better to save my dog, as he will have many more years to yap and jump about. If the dog is old, and the stranger young, I would probably save the stranger. I might regret it later, no doubt said stranger will do nothing more than give a bit of thanks and walk off, perhaps even sue me for holding him a bit tight or if CPR is necessary, he may even sue me over a bruised rib. Meanwhile the dog will be loyal forever for that act of kindness.

Choices choices.

I agree exactly with Joe Random. It wouldn’t even be a tough decision… and I’m a dog lover. Admittedly, I don’t currently have a dog… but I tried to check if it was right by imagining my parents dog, my sister’s dog, or any of the dogs I had growing up somehow brought back to life.

Actually, ok, I’d save the dog that had been brought back to life, purely out of scientific curiosity–if I could figure out how the dog came back, I could then save the stranger after the fact :slight_smile:

Unless it was a child I would instinctively say my dog. I guess I just feel completely responsible for his safety but only partially for my fellow man.

“The person is more valuable to someone than the dog is to anyone.”

Then why don’t they save him? :wink:

No question, the stranger. Sorry, Fido, but that’s the way it goes.

As per the other posters, I value human life more than canine.

BTW, it’s really not good etiquite here to use the old “I’ll tell you my reasons tomorrow.” This is GD, not “can you stump the Dopers”. In fact, typically I wouldn’t answer an open ended OP like this. But he answer is glaringly obvious.

Gee…that’s tough one, as I would be tempted to save neither. But as I really hated my dog, I my first instinct would be to just watch to make sure she drowned.

But I guess I would eventually save the stranger because he/she is valued by somebody.

humans > dogs

I would most likely be emotionally traumatized… at the very least I would feel REAL bad. but I have to believe a human life has more value than a canine…

Well I’ll take up the banner John. :slight_smile:

Basically I’ve made a strong commitment to keep another animal safe and loyal to me. In some ways (and to varying degrees) dogs become extensions of the owner. You could similarly ask me if I’d give up a foot for a stranger. To which I would say hell no. This despite the math that a whole person is more valuable than my foot.

Now I may risk my life to save a stranger but the active word is “risk”. I ain’t trading. Which is one of the reasons these moral dilemma questions are frequently so useless.

The human being. This isn’t even a matter of deliberation, as far as I’m concerned.

The dog… the stranger will pull me under :). However, if its a matter of no risk to me, I would pick the stranger in most cases. However- there is one dog I own that I could not let drown. Can’t explain it… I’m usually a realist about my animals, though I care for all of them quite a bit… but this dog is different.

I was standing there pondering the question, and they both drowned. Oh well.

Hard choice. I wouldn’t know until it happened. Hopefuly it never will. I would feel real bad either way. Either I let a fellow human die, and save my dog. Living with the grief. On the other hand I save the fellow human, and let an animal that has unlimitted amount of love die.

Easy: the person. My belief is that human life is intrinsically more valuable than that of an animal. The sadness from losing the dog would be far outweighed by the joy of saving a person’s life.

The stranger of course.

No question.

Imagine if you are drowning and you see your one hope diving in the water… and then see him turn away from you and go for the poodle over there.

I´m appaled to see that “of course I´ll save the fellow human” is not the unanimous answer; not only it´s a matter of moral values, c´mon it´s a FELLOW HUMAN BEING, your brother/sister in some way, I can´t grasp the idea of favouring the life of an animal over that, I really can´t. Besides, if you let a person drown while you boldly rescue Fido, you´d probably be in lots of trouble with the law, I don`t know what kind of law that would violate, but homicide by negligence or something along that line could be an option.

I’ll appal you a bit more. My dog. No question about it. I know my dog, I love my dog. I don’t see why I have to give up my dog and rescue a stranger, just because he happens to be of the same species as I am.

If you decide to abandon the human and save the dog, you have condemmed someone to have to suffer through the death of their father, brother, or son; mother, sister or daughter.

More likely you’re condemming a number of people to suffer the agony of losing a loved one, crying themselves to sleep at night, and trying to rebuild their shattered lives. All so you could save a dog who’s death couldn’t possibly cause that level of suffering.

I don’t care how much I love my pet; no dog is worth that much.

I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that anyone who chose the dog over the stranger is someone who has not yet had to suffer through the death of a loved one. That’s not something I would wish on anyone else.

Would you feel the same way about an innocent baby? After all, if the baby is a total stranger, and personal attachment is all that matters to you, then why wouldn’t you choose your dog over this helpless, innocent child?

No question about it, I would save my dog.

Human life is not precious at all. There are more than 6 billion of us. We’re not going extinct anytime soon. We’ll destroy the entire planet and rape it before we die off.

So as long as the human race doesn’t go extinct, it’s okay to let people die?

Great googly moogly.