A 56-year-old Alton, Illinois, woman is recovering after her pet gnawed off her big toe while she was asleep, reported The (Alton) Telegraph on July 2.
As a former employee at that paper, I know the town has no shortage of bizarre stories. But a dachshund and a sleeping woman -- who happens to have no feeling in her feet? I absolutely don't mean to trivialize the woman's plight -- and she's certainly brave for sharing her story -- but the only way this could've been worse is if she'd been sleeping on a pile of New York strips.
By now it's likely I'm not the first person from whom you've heard of this story. Go ahead and Google, uhh, "Alton Toe".
Read the original story, first published in The Telegraph, here.
From there the story got picked up on the Illinois wire of the Associated Press, and then shuffled to the national wire. Now it's made it to various "weird news" Web sites, (is it just me, or is this often more depressing than weird?), and Jim Romenesko's Obscure Store and Reading Room.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch also published a story, but The Telegraph clearly covered its home turf far better than the interlopers -- though the author of the Post story, Terry Hillig, is a former Telegraph staffer.
Enough with the journo talk, let's get to them headlines! Here's how other news outlets took a bite out of this story:
The Baltimore Sun: Biting the toe that feeds you
From KTLA in Los Angeles: Ewww...Dachshund Eats Owner's Big Toe
From The Spoof, a satirical publication in the UK: Dog Chews Off Owner's Toe. Owner Very Angry!
The Age in Australia took a more straightforward approach. Perhaps such incidents are common Down Under (or the copy editor was severely overworked): Dachshund ate sleeping owner's toe
From FOXNews (always in caps, that FOX): Lapdog Gnaws Off Sleeping Owner's Toe
Two from the Chicago Tribune: Lapdog gnaws off owner's toe and Miniature dachshund gnaws off diabetic owner's toe