What’s really going on at the ‘Dog Suicide Bridge’?

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People walk their dogs on Overtoun Bridge on the way to Overtoun House, in Dumbarton, Scotland. – Người dân dắt chó đi dạo trên cầu Overtoun trên đường đến ngôi nhà Overtoun ở Dumbarton, Scotland.

[Reading level: C2 – Mastery]

In Dumbarton, Scotland, there’s an ornate 19th-century bridge called the Overtoun Bridge. But its claim to fame is somewhat sinister. It’s nicknamed the “dog suicide bridge.”

 

For decades, dating at least back to the 1950s, dogs have been jumping from the Gothic-style bridge that crosses a 50-foot (15-meter) ravine. Many news outlets have reported on the bridge, and it’s inspired at least one full-length book. Some reports set the number of flying furballs in the hundreds, while others cite fewer. Numbers aside, there’s no disputing that a lot of dogs have died at this bridge, and no one knows exactly why.

 

Sometimes dogs survive the fall but suffer terrible injuries. Others perish soon after their plunges. In at least one instance, a dog allegedly jumped from the bridge, survived, ran up the slope and then jumped off once again. But what’s inspiring this rash of jumps?

 

The Sweet Smell of Wild Animals – Mùi hương ngọt ngào từ động vật hoang dã

In 2010, animal behaviorist David Sands visited the bridge and concluded that dogs certainly weren’t killing themselves on purpose. He figured that since most of the dogs that jump are long-nosed types with especially keen odor tracking skills, wild animal scent may be a trigger.

 

Perhaps the dogs can smell or see wild creatures scurrying below the bridge, noted Sands. And maybe the bridge’s construction, which has tapered edges, might make it look like a safe, flat plane from a dog’s point of view, also contributes to their confusion.

 

In his documentary about the bridge mystery, Sands says, “I think it’s highly likely in all the cases here at Overtoun Bridge that it was curiosity that killed the dog.”

 

Still, this part of the country is full of superstitious folks. Some of them believe that there are paranormal factors at work, driving the dogs to jump to their deaths.

 

One theory is that a grieving widow, the “White Lady of Overtoun” maintains a ghostly presence at the bridge, stirring the dogs into a death frenzy.

 

Another, even darker take, harkens to a terrible event that occurred in 1994. It was that year that a 32-year-old father threw his own baby – whom he was certain was the anti-Christ – into the gorge below. The baby died the following day, and the father was declared insane and committed to an institution.

 

Locals say that dogs, in almost every case, tend to jump from the same spot that the baby was thrown from. Perhaps, they say, the terrible ordeal left a supernatural rift of sorts that affects dog behavior.

 

Whatever the case, scientists don’t seem to believe that dogs are intentionally offing themselves because their Prozac prescriptions ran out. Suicide is more of a creation of the human condition.

 

Until the mystery is solved, perhaps local dog walkers should consider mandatory leash laws for anyone who approaches the bridge.

 

NOW THAT’S INTERESTING

Dr. David Sands is convinced that the scent of minks is likely the cause of dogs jumping from the bridge. He set up an experiment in which most dogs shot straight towards the scent of mink. But if minks are the cause, why aren’t other bridges in Scotland also luring dogs to their deaths?

 

Source: https://science.howstuffworks.com/science-vs-myth/unexplained-phenomena/dog-suicide-bridge.htm

WORD BANK:

ornate /ɔːrˈneɪt/ (adj): được trang trí đẹp mắt, công phu

claim to fame (idiom): lý do nổi tiếng

sinister /ˈsɪn.ə.stɚ/ (adj): ma mị, ghê rợn

ravine /rəˈviːn/ (n): khe núi

date back (phrasal verb) [B2]: từ khi, từ hồi (thời gian)

outlet /ˈaʊt.let/ [C2] (n): cửa hàng

dispute /dɪˈspjuːt/ (v) [C2]: bàn cãi

perish /ˈper.ɪʃ/ (v): bỏ mạng

plunge /plʌndʒ/ (n): cú lao xuống

allegedly /əˈledʒ·ɪd·li/ (adv): được cho là

a rash of something /ræʃ/ (n): hàng loạt, số lượng lớn

on purpose [B1] (idiom): một cách có chủ đích

scurry /ˈskʌr.i/ (v): di chuyển nhanh với bước ngắn

keen /kiːn/ [C1] (adj): nhạy bén

odor /ˈoʊ.dɚ/ [C2] (n): mùi hương

trigger /ˈtrɪɡ.ɚ/ (n): thứ kích thích

tapered /ˈteɪ.pəd/ (adj): hẹp dần

edge /edʒ/ (n): thành cầu, lan can

plane /pleɪn/ (n): mặt phẳng

confusion /kənˈfjuːʒn/ [B2] (n): sự nhầm lẫn

curiosity that killed the dog: Đây là cách bài viết chơi chữ thành ngữ “curiosity killled the cat”- nghĩa là, sự tò mò giết chết con mèo. 

superstitious /ˌsuː.pəˈstɪʃ.əs/ (adj): mê tín, dị đoan

folk  /fəʊk/ (n): câu chuyện dân gian

paranormal /ˌper.əˈnɔːr.məl/ (adj): siêu nhiên

grieving /ˈɡriː.vɪŋ/ (adj): đau khổ

widow /ˈwɪd.oʊ/ [B2] (n): góa phụ

frenzy /ˈfren.zi/ [C2] (n): hành vi không kiểm soát

harken (v): gợi nhớ về, liên quan tới

gorge /ɡɔːrdʒ/ (n): hẻm núi

insane /ɪnˈseɪn/ [C2] (adj): tâm thần

commit /kəˈmɪt/ (v): đưa vào bệnh viện

ordeal /ɔːˈdɪəl/ [C2] (n): trải nghiệm kinh khủng

rift /rɪft/ (n): vết rạn nứt

intentionally /ɪnˈtenʃənəli/ (adv): cố tình

off /ɔːf/ (v): kết liễu, giết

Prozac (n): tên của một loại thuốc trầm cảm

run out (phrasal verb): hết, cạn kiệt

mandatory /ˈmændətɔːri/ (adj): bắt buộc

leash /liːʃ/ (n): dây dắt chó

mink /mɪŋk/ (n): chồn nâu

lure /lʊr/ [C2] (v): hấp dẫn, dẫn dụ


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