The Real Reason We Call 911 in Emergencies

Hand Holding Smartphone With Emergency Number 911 On The ScreenNoor Haswan Noor Azman/ShutterstockOne of the first phone numbers we memorize as children (sometimes before our parents’ numbers) is 911. We’re told of the gravity that comes with calling this number, and how it should never be misused or taken lightly because it could literally save someone’s life.

The number has since been ingrained in our brains. But how did those numbers become the Universal Emergency Number throughout the United States?

It all started with a murder.

Until the 1960s, people contacted their local police station or fire department if there was an emergency. They could also dial “0” and have the telephone operator connect them, reports. The National Association of Fire Chiefs requested a phone number specifically for reporting fires in 1957, but little came of it.

Then, in 1964, 28-year-old Kitty Genovese was stabbed and raped near her apartment in Queens and later succumbed to her injuries. Reports circulated that as many as 38 neighbors witnessed the attack without calling the police. In reality, only a few people likely saw her attacker, two neighbors claimed to have called the police, and one woman even ran to help Kitty as she bled out, The Washington Post reports.

Nevertheless, the community was already outraged by the supposed lack of communication that led to Genovese’s death, and locals joined a national campaign to create an emergency response system.

Three years later, the President’s Commission on Law Enforcement and Administration of Justice formally recommended that a “single number should be established” for people across the country to call and report emergencies, according to the National Emergency Number Association (NENA). In 1968, AT&T (which operated the majority of U.S. telephone connections) announced that 9-1-1 would be the country’s official emergency code. Don’t miss these secrets 911 dispatchers won’t tell you.

Those digits were selected for a few key reasons. For starters, it was short and easy to remember. 9-1-1 had also never been used as an area code or office code. Plus, it was easy to dial on the rotary dial phones that were found in most homes at that time.

Congress supported AT&T’s proposal. Senator Rankin Fite made the first ever 911 call in Haleyville, Alabama, on February 16, 1968. And in March 1973, the White House’s Office of Telecommunications issued a national policy encouraging the use of the 911 system across the country to report emergency situations.

However, not every “emergency” that people think warrants a police response is actually all that serious. These are 14 of the most hilarious 911 calls ever placed.

10 Times to Never, Ever Use Your Credit Card for Payment

When a merchant needs to take your card out of view for payment

merchantJacob Lund/Shutterstock

This scenario is common when paying your tab at a restaurant or bar. Especially if you’re not traveling overseas, chances are that it’s fine, but allowing any merchant the chance to take your card out of view provides the potential for writing down or taking pictures of the card for use later. “A high-risk destination example is Brazil. During the 2016 Olympics, multiple people had their CCs cloned while at restaurants,” Mark Deane, CEO of ETS Risk Management in Bethesda, Maryland, says. “One security manager of a large corporation even told a story of being at a table and catching the waiter with a cloning device under his jacket, trying to swipe the card at the table. The waiter ran off when challenged.” The best practice is to never to let your card out of your sight and don’t be afraid to ask merchants to bring payment options to you. “This is becoming more and more common in Europe, where restaurants bring devices to the table to accept payment, and we think this may become more prevalent in the U.S. as well,” says Alex Cramer, Head of Cards at Final, a mobile-first credit card startup. These are the times you should never open a store credit card.

The Top-Secret Airline You Never Knew Existed

Chris Parypa Photography/shutterstock

Whether it’s for the sake of business, the sake of rewards points, or the sake of habit, everyone probably has a preferred airline. Many airline passengers enjoy the likes of Delta, United, or Southwest—but for a select set of government workers in Nevada, their airline of choice might just be JANET.

You won’t encounter JANET on any old KAYAK inquiry because it’s allegedly a top-secret government airline commuter shuttle. JANET has a fleet of 11 aircrafts based out of Las Vegas’ McCarran International Airport and their sole purpose is to bring government workers to the cryptic Area 51 military base 150 miles north of the Strip. According to Business Insider, JANET is possibly an acronym for Joint Air Network for Employee Transportation, but there is no government confirmation of this name. Find out the 10 other things the government doesn’t want you to know about Area 51

A quick glance at a JANET plane might not stimulate any cause for suspicion; six of them are the common Boeing 737-600 model still frequently used in commercial air travel. Each plane is white with a simple red trim. But you won’t just see them taxiing next to any old Spirit flight; they take off from the Gold Coast Terminal, a cordoned-off section of the airport solely dedicated to JANET.

JANET planes are primarily used for travel between Las Vegas and Area 51, but according to the Telegraph, they have been used on flights to Wright Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio, and Edwards Air Force Base in California. Now that you know about this top-secret airline, check out these 10 secret U.S. government operations that were recently revealed

10 Fancy Words That Make You Sound Smarter

Toss: Mean

Nicole Fornabaio/

Try: Vitriolic. The word vitriol originally meant “sulfates.” It evolved over time, keeping the “corrosive” and “destructive” connotations from its association with sulfuric acid. Now, it’s used to describe a nasty, scathing comment or action. Check out these 10 common words that you’ll only find in English.

9 Productive Ways to Make the Most Out of Getting Fired

Ask for a promotion


Here’s a variation on your preemptive dodge-the-ax strategy. If you decide that you’re so dissatisfied with your job that resigning is the best solution, your next move is to march straight into the boss’s office—not to say you’re leaving but to air your grievances. Say how you feel, state clearly what you want and ask what plans, if any, the company really has for your future in the company. Voicing your desires provides a context when you do give notice and may even help to make what you’re seeking much clearer in your own mind, as you look for a new job. Sometimes an employer has no idea that you have any difficulties with your job and, if your work is satisfactory and valued, may make an effort to accommodate your concerns. You may end up not resigning after all. If you’re not valued enough for them to do that, then you’ll know that your decision to leave was certainly the right one. Make sure you never, ever say these things to your boss.

Treat Your Dog to … Different Types of Dog Beds

Finding the right bed for your dog is no small task. Dog beds take up a lot of room in your house, but, thankfully, many companies and creators have started developing designs that are comfortable for your dog and don’t compromise on style. Check out these different kinds of dog beds!

1. Absorbent Dog Beds

Super Snoozer Dog Bed: Dark Chocolate, Soggy Doggy ($85).

Super Snoozer Dog Bed: Dark Chocolate, Soggy Doggy ($85).

If your dog drools or likes to spend the summer swimming, these specially designed absorbent dogs beds keep your floor dry and your dog comfortable. “The cover of these round, plush beds are made from Soggy Doggy’s signature microfiber chenille,” explains Joanna Rein, CEO of Soggy Doggy Productions. “The noodley fibers in the chenille absorb five times more water (including drool and mishaps) than regular dog beds, leaving the covers and your pooch dry, with no ‘doggy smells.’”

2. Modern Dog Beds

Modern dog house with a linen cover, Shop KMD Designs ($140).

Modern dog house with a linen cover, Shop KMD Designs ($140).

Designed after the classic dog house shape, these modern beds would be perfect for a loft or any home with modern décor. Inga explains that she designed the first version for her English bulldog, Baron. “We designed this house bed so he would be able to cuddle in his very own ‘house,’ while being able to see everything that’s happening around him.” Now your dog can enjoy his own little hideaway as well!

3. Cuddle Dog Beds

Orthopedic Circle Stitch Cuddler Pet Bed, Gray, American Kennel Club ($24.69).

Orthopedic Circle Stitch Cuddler Pet Bed, Gray, American Kennel Club ($24.69).

Cuddle dog beds are classics for a reason — they give your dog a cozy spot to nap! Many dogs like to snuggle into the back of this bed, which makes them feel secure. These beds come in many sizes to fit the needs of all dog breeds.

4. Mid-Century Design Dog Beds

Pixi mid century modern dog bed, Cairudesign ($299).

Pixi mid century modern dog bed, Cairudesign ($299).

Do you want your dog’s bed to match your mid-century modern design? Check out these reproductions of mid-century furniture designs perfect to give your dog somewhere comfortable to relax while you binge-watch your favorite classic TV shows. Joel Chesney of Cairudesign describes his dog beds as “influenced by mid-century aesthetics, and hand crafted with quality and practicality in mind, but from the pet’s perspective.”

5. Hammock Dog Beds

Personalized Dog Hammock, Funny Pet ($35.09).

Personalized Dog Hammock, Funny Pet ($35.09).

Is your dog looking to lounge around this summer? Hook him up with his very own personalized hammock! Customize these hammocks with different colors, designs, woods, fabrics and more to match your décor.

6. Customizable “Royal” Dog Beds

Grey princess bed with crown sparkles, Happy Dog ($119.99).

Grey princess bed with crown sparkles, Happy Dog ($119.99).

If you’re looking for something special for your little prince or princess, these royal beds are perfect for spoiling your dog. “I can fully customize it according to my clients’ wishes,” says Anna Konokhova, creator of Happy Dog. “I can make the beds in different colors and the sizes my client wants, every bed and pillow can be personalized, or any embroidery can be added to the pillows.”

7. Elevated Dog Beds

Elevated Pet Bed - Terra Cotta, Coolaroo ($15.01).

Elevated Pet Bed – Terra Cotta, Coolaroo ($15.01).

Elevated dog beds are great for dogs who spend a lot of time outside because they help keep your dog from lying in dirty or muddy areas. Additionally, elevated beds are better for your dog’s joints than lying on the hard ground and will keep your dog cooler by allowing air circulation on all sides. These beds are designed for use and storage outside and can resist mold and mildew.

8. Orthopedic Dog Beds

Orthopedic Dog Bed, Big Barker ($199.95).

Orthopedic Dog Bed, Big Barker ($199.95).

For people with large dogs, and in particular large dogs with joint issues, finding an orthopedic bed that can support joint health is important. A few years ago, my dog got to review The Big Barker and to this day it is my favorite bed we’ve ever had. Even now with an adolescent Newfoundland in the house, the Big Barker looks like it did the day I opened it. The foam in the bed has never broken down, and I feel better about my big dog’s joints knowing that they are well protected.

9. Canopy Dog Beds

Dog bed, Dog House Shop (Prices vary).

Dog bed, Dog House Shop (prices vary).

Think your dog is your baby? How about giving him a sweet place to dream, complete with a canopy and pillows. These canopy beds come with feather pillows and are available in a variety of colors. Your dog’s name can even be embroidered onto the pillow or blanket.

June is Treat Your Pup Month here at Dogster! Stay tuned on for fun ways to spoil your canine with different types of treats, accessories and more.

Sassafras Lowrey is an award-winning author whose novels have been honored by the Lambda Literary Foundation and the American Library Association. Sassafras is a Certified Trick Dog Instructor and assists with dog agility classes. She lives and writes in Brooklyn with her partner, a senior Chihuahua mix, a rescued Shepherd mix, a Newfoundland puppy, two bossy cats and a semi-feral kitten. Learn more at

Thumbnail: Photography ©Chalabala | Thinkstock.

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7 Ways to Go Eco Friendly With Your Dog

Recycling and reusing pet supplies, paying attention to the products you use and the companies you buy from, and choosing eco-friendly products can go a long way toward reducing your dog’s carbon pawprint and cut down on waste that ends up in our landfills.

“The environment is important to every living being, and owners have a duty to do our part to ensure we are keeping the world’s plants and animals safe from the potential harm of our pets,” says Mike Bober, president and CEO of the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council.

Worried it might be too complicated? It’s not! Just follow these seven easy steps. Who knows? You may be practicing some of them already.

1. Choose eco-friendly companies

Dachshund sitting with plastic water bottles in a recycle bin.

Purchase your pet’s necessities from eco-friendly companies. Photography ©paylessimages | Getty Images.

“Purchase your pet’s necessities like food, beds and toys from companies who truly work to reduce their products’ environmental footprint,” says Spencer Williams, owner and CEO of West Paw Design.

“Do a little bit of research online or by asking store associates about the companies’ environmental values and manufacturing practices, and then help support those companies who are committed to doing their part.”

West Paw Design is exceptionally eco-conscious. The company has a closed-loop recycling program, inviting customers to send back their old toys so they can be recycled and made into new toys.

And in its manufacturing facility in Bozeman, Montana, West Paw repurposes used banana boxes from local grocery stores for storage rather than using plastic bins. West Paw Design offers durable toys made from recyclable materials and comfy beds stuffed with filling made from recycled plastic bottles.

Other eco-friendly companies include:

  • Chews Happiness, which offers collars and leashes made from cruelty-free yak down, a renewable resource.
  • Olive Green Dog, which offers a bamboo brush as a beautiful alternative to plastic.

When buying pet supplies, look for products that are made from sustainable materials like hemp and bamboo, and those that are minimally packaged or packaged using environmentally friendly materials (for instance, cardboard rather than plastic).

2. Recycle your pet food containers

A Basset Hound who has gotten into the garbage.

You can recycle most of your dog’s pet food containers. Photography by Susan Schmitz/Shutterstock.

Recycling is a great way to reduce the amount of waste that ends up in landfills. Did you know that you can recycle most of your dog’s pet food containers?

Food cans, whether steel or aluminum, can usually be tossed right into your curbside recycling bin. Rinse the can out first to keep your bin clean and to discourage scavenging by birds or other wildlife.

Paper pet food bags, foil pouches and plastic containers are more of a gray area since many are made up of multiple materials. Check the recycling code printed on the package or contact your local recycling program to ask what they accept.

3. Reduce plastic products

The production and disposal of plastic is hard on the environment, so limit the number of plastic products you use for your dog. Try stainless steel or ceramic bowls instead of plastic, and toys made from renewable or recycled materials.

Instead of single-use plastic water bottles, consider a reusable container, which will last years and can even be recycled when you’re done with it.

4. Donate old pet gear

Don’t toss out gently used collars, leashes, beds, clothing, bowls or toys. Give them a second life by donating them to a local animal shelter or rescue organization.

If you really want to make someone’s day, sew up any holes in pet beds or sweaters before donating them. The rescue pups will appreciate your dog’s old things, and you will feel good knowing they didn’t end up in a landfill.

5. Clean up with eco-friendly bags

Girl picking up after her dog on a walk.

Eco-friendly poop bags are just as convenient as plastic bags. Photography ©LeoPatrizi | Getty Images.

Cleaning up after your dog is a necessary chore, but it doesn’t have to be so bad for the environment. Many eco-friendly poop bags are available that are just as convenient as traditional plastic bags. Biodegradable poop bags are meant for composting.

According to Jennifer Pope, vice president of marketing for BioBag Americas, Inc., based in Dunedin, Florida, composting is the best way to dispose of your dog’s poop in terms of impact on the environment.

“There are now a number of communities and parks successfully composting their dog waste,” she says. “If there is a method like composting out there, we all need to take strides in supporting these methods and advocating them. We can’t wait until laws are passed. We need to be stewards of our earth, our home.”

If you do end up tossing biodegradable poop bags in the trash, they are still more environmentally friendly than petroleum- based plastic bags because they’re made from plant materials. Another green method of waste disposal is flushing the poop, either in special flushable bags or simply picking it up with a scoop and flushing it down.

Poop bags made from natural plant materials like BioBags and Define Planet’s Veggie Based Poopbags are compostable.

Flushable poop bags like Flush Puppies are made from a special material that becomes very soft in water.

6. Eat your greens and cut down on processed food

Boy gardening with his beagle.

Cut down on processed food and start growing your own fresh produce. Photography ©darrya | Getty Images.

Cutting down on processed foods by growing and consuming fresh produce is a delicious way to do your part for the planet. Plant a small garden in your yard to grow fruit and vegetable treats for you and your dog.

7. Shop eco friendly

Some states like California, as well as cities like Portland and Honolulu, have banned single-use plastic bags in grocery stores and certain retail outlets. Some pet stores are still exempt from these laws and continue to load purchases into single-use bags at checkout.

Start using your own reusable bags when shopping at the pet store and any other stores where plastic bags are used.

Thumbnail: Photography by ©Sarah McGraw Photography.

Jackie Brown is a freelance writer from Southern California who specializes in the pet industry. Reach her at

Editor’s note: This article first appeared in Dogster magazine. Have you seen the new Dogster print magazine in stores? Or in the waiting room of your vet’s office? Subscribe now to get Dogster magazine delivered straight to you!

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