Ghost Stories and Tall Tales of the American South

The Coughing Dog – Story Background



Have you ever heard one of these stories and thought it was true?

– A baby alligator is flushed down the toilet and grows into an adult in the city sewers.

– A carpet layer accidentally kills a homeowner’s pet bird while hammering down lumps in a rug.

– A college student is drugged during a one-night stand, then wakes up in a ice-filled bathtub with his kidneys missing.

– A psychopath with a hook on his hand escapes prison and terrorizes amorous couples on Lovers Lane.

Coughing Dog

There are hundreds of these “urban legends” floating around the world, and “The Coughing Dog” is based on one of them. The story resurfaced in newspapers around the country in 1981. The main storyline – a guard dog biting off the fingers of an intruder – is relatively consistent throughout the many different versions, but other elements were changed. Some people took the story as fact, only to hear later on about similar stories elsewhere.

This is the typical pattern of an urban legend – a story that has become so ingrained in our society that we accept it as fact. But they are in fact folktales, and not too far removed from the tales floating around rural America that some accept as fact. As is the case with rural folktales, many urban legends have an important lesson to teach – most often, to err on the side of caution!

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2 Responses to “The Coughing Dog – Story Background”


this is a great story


This is a very well written story.. sometimes it`s best to listen to warnings, than rather to just ignore them.

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