Throughout history they've been humankind's most convenient, unwitting and trustworthy scapegoats for missing homework assignments and olfactory mishaps.
And now a Massachusetts man is telling cops that if they think he was responsible for his own car sinking to the bottom of a local pond, then they are barking up the wrong tree.
When Canton police responded to a 911 call Sunday for a vehicle that had gone into a local pond, the car's owner -- who police aren't naming -- said it was the doing of Rosie, his 5-month-old German Shepherd puppy.
"Rosie got her leash entangled in the [gear] shifter," Rob Quirk of the Canton Police Department said, repeating the driver's explanation. "While [the dog was] trying to break free [the owner] stated the puppy fell onto the driver's side floor and hit the accelerator sending the vehicle into the pond."
The man and his dog were both in the Dodge Neon as it floated about 30 yards offshore before it sank, according to Quirk, who said a witness rushed into the pond to help get Rosie safely out of the vehicle after the driver had to untangle things to free himself.
"While this story has a happy ending," said a Canton police press release, "we would encourage drivers to keep their pets safely secured in the rear of their vehicle where they cannot interfere with operation."
Both man and dog emerged unharmed.