The Odd Truth, Feb. 1, 2003

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The Odd Truth is a collection of strange but factual news stories from around the world compiled by's Brian Bernbaum. A new collection of stories is published each weekday. On weekends, you can read a week's worth of The Odd Truth.

G.I. Joe Millionaire

PROVIDENCE, Rhode Island - It's a G.I. Joe so expensive, it could break even the Pentagon's budget. G.I. Joe creator Don Levine is going to sell his hand-carved prototype for the world's first action figure. It will go on the block in July and the auctioneers figure it could bring more than $600,000. If you don't have quite that much money, Levine is selling some of his other G.I. Joe stuff, including the first handmade figure with movable limbs. That's worth an estimated $75,000. Levine created G.I. Joe 40 years ago, as an executive for Rhode Island-based Hasbro toys. He says the name came to him while watching an old black and white movie called "The Story of G.I. Joe."

Naked, Sober Man Nabbed In Museum Break-In

BAKERSFIELD, California - He wasn't exactly the caped crusader. Police in Bakersfield, California, say they busted a naked guy at the scene of a museum break-in. According to officers, Shane Michael Walton was wearing only a top hat and a cape -- and rolling around in a wheelchair used as a prop by the museum for historical skits. The cape and hat were from the place, too. Authorities say Walton trashed the Kern County Museum, causing an estimated $20,000 in damages. Officers are offering no explanation as to why Walton was nude. But police say he wasn't drunk or on drugs. He's been booked for investigation of burglary and felony mischief.

54-Year Old Paternity Suit Ends, Finally

STOCKHOLM, Sweden - Making a baby doesn't take long. Proving you didn't can take half a century.

The Supreme Court of Sweden last week said 79-year-old Ragnar Johansson is not the father of a 55-year-old woman, overturning a lower court decision from 1949.

The decision ended a long-standing paternity dispute, but was unlikely to lead to reimbursement for the child support Johansson paid as the child grew up.

Johansson disputed his fatherhood after the girl was born in 1948, but a court ruled against him and ordered him to pay child support to the girl's mother.

The 1949 decision, well ahead of the advent of DNA technology, was based on blood tests and circumstantial evidence, Johansson's lawyer Claes Aurell said.

Johansson appealed to the Supreme Court in 1950, but the court declined to hear the case. It granted a retrial 53 years later, after Johansson provided DNA tests proving he was not the father.

The Supreme Court absolved Johansson from fatherhood but denied his request for reimbursement for legal costs.

The daughter, who asked not to be identified, told The Associated Press she never met Johansson and wondered why he waited so long before requesting a retrial.

Mohandas 'G-Man' Gandhi Protested

NEW DELHI, India - An MTV show is causing people to go hungry in India.

About 150 lawmakers and political activists fasted yesterday, in protest of "Clone High, USA." They say the show mocks Mohandas Gandhi.

The show has never aired in India, but a newspaper report about it has upset people who revere the late independence leader.

The show has a character -- G-Man -- who is a fictional Gandhi clone.

But this Gandhi wears dangly earrings, eats junk food and is a party animal.

MTV India says it doesn't plan to air the show.

The Indian Express quotes a supporter of Gandhi saying, "such pygmies who try to ridicule him will only fail."

Adventurous Mouse Wreaks Air Traffic Havoc

ZURICH, Switzerland - A missing mouse forced the Swiss airline to cancel flights two flights between Zurich and New York, the company said Friday.

The mouse, destined for use in laboratory experiments, escaped from its transport container in the hold of an Airbus A-330 during a flight Wednesday from Boston to Zurich, Swiss spokesman Manfred Winkler said.

On safety grounds, authorities were forced to gas the mouse by pumping carbon dioxide through the hold — even though modern aircraft design limits the risk of cables being gnawed. As a result, a scheduled flight Thursday from Zurich to New York was scrapped, as was the return leg.

Missing Armored Car Cash Found In Mexico, With Driver

SAN DIEGO — An armored car driver who vanished last week along with more than $100,000 was detained in Mexico, authorities said.

On Thursday, the FBI and Mexican authorities detained Philip Carlos Salcedo Jr., 23, in Cabo San Lucas, Baja California, FBI spokesman John Iannarelli said.

The Loomis Fargo armored car Salcedo was driving was found abandoned in downtown San Diego on Jan. 23 with its engine running and door open. Moments earlier Salcedo had dropped off a fellow security guard, at a city administration building for the car's final pickup of the day, police said.

The next day, FBI agents found money and deposit bags in Rosarito, Mexico. Police initially treated the case as a possible kidnapping and robbery, but later said they considered Salcedo the "prime suspect."

Salcedo's family hired a private investigator to help find the married father of two, saying they believed he had been threatened and were concerned for his safety.

The Labor Movement Just Got Sexier

SAN FRANCISCO - Some strippers are now covered -- by a union contract. The dancers at San Francisco's Lusty Lady have approved a new labor pact that restores pay cuts and improves some fringe benefits. They're the only unionized strippers in the country. They had picketed the club last month, to protest a pay cut of three bucks an hour. But the exotic dancers can now take it all off at their old salary -- $27 an hour. The club has even promoted the strippers' union status. The Lusty Lady boasts it has the "only peep show where you can be sure the dancers will be beautiful, smart and unionized."

You Make Me Feel So Young

OSLO, Norway - Ingeborg Bertea Thuen was delighted when local authorities offered her free bus rides to the school she's supposed to attend as a first-grader this fall.

The last time Thuen started school, in 1903, she had to walk an hour each way.

"That's great," the 106-year-old told the Oslo newspaper Dagsavisen Friday about the free ride. "It's quite a way to walk."

She was born in 1897, but computers in Os township, near the west coast city of Bergen, misread the '97' in her birth date as 1997. That would have made her 6 years old, and the township sent her a letter summoning her to start school.

The letter also encouraged the centenarian's parents to list the children she would like to have in her class.

Thuen, who gets around with the help of a walker, reckons she may do better than her first-time peers.

"Since I can already read, maybe I should skip a couple grades," she joked.

Shocking Accusation

DETROIT - A city councilwoman in Detroit is accusing the city's mayor of trying to put her on the hot seat.

Councilwoman Sharon McPhail says the mayor tried to give her an electric shock -- by having her chair massager sabotaged.

She calls Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick a "thug" and a "bully."

Kilpatrick tells the Detroit Free Press that the accusation is "ridiculous." He says of McPhail, "she really needs some help."

Police are investigating -- after McPhail reported the electric massager, which was attached to her desk chair, had been rigged to give her a shock. She says she didn't turn it on, so she didn't get a jolt.

McPhail says the mayor has been unhappy with her since she voted against some development deals he worked out with casino companies.

War Games In Norwegian Parliament

OSLO — While parliament hotly debated the actions of Norwegians fighting in Afghanistan, one lawmaker passed the time by playing a war-game of his own on his handheld computer.

What Conservative lawmaker Trond Helleland, chairman of the justice committee, didn't know was that national television was taping Wednesday's heated debate and zoomed in on him from behind as he played.

Helleland and the game made national television news Wednesday and major papers on Thursday, drawing furious responses.

"A member of parliament sitting and playing war-games in the meeting hall when such serious questions as war and peace are being discussed puts us all in a bad light," Marit Nybakk of the Labor Party told Norway's largest newspaper, Verdens Gang.

Helleland said he had intended to check his schedule on his Palm personal digital assistant but couldn't resist a round of Metalion, a war-game set in space that lets players shoot laser cannon at targets. He played it for about seven minutes in full view of cameras.

"This is, of course, very embarrassing and should never have happened," said Helleland, who claimed he followed most of the debate while he played the game.

Postcard Arrives 50 Years Late

MOBERLY, Mo. — "He's gone. He's dead," was the first thought church secretary Marie Taylor had as she held the postcard addressed to the late Rev. Jack Stanton.

Then she took a closer look and read the postmark — 9:30 p.m., Oct. 20, 1949.

The card, relayed by the Postal Service, finally reached its destination last week at the Carpenter Street Baptist Church, where Stanton was pastor from 1947 to 1951. He died last year.

The card, with a correct one-cent stamp, featured a picture of a St. Louis evangelist, Del Fehsenfeld, who was planning a revival in Burbank, Calif., in 1949.

Promised topics included "Are you ready to meet God?" and "Will the atomic-bomb end all?"

Taylor used the Internet to track down the 90-year-old Fehsenfeld in Greenville, S.C. He recalled passing through Missouri many times and said he'd like to visit again, Taylor said.

Postal officials had their theories about how the card went missing for more than half a century.

It could have been stuck in a machine or a piece of furniture in a Burbank post office and didn't get found until a recent renovation, said Rich Skaggs, the Moberly postmaster.

But Terri Bouffiou, spokeswoman for the U.S. Postal Service in Southern California, said there wasn't any renovation or move lately at any Burbank post office.

What would the late pastor think about his never-received mail? "He would get a kick out of it," said current pastor Brian Wilson.

Holy Roller

DELRAY BEACH, Fla. - There was more than a cross sprouting from a church roof in Florida. Someone has been growing pot on top of the Lakeview Baptist Church in Delray Beach. The reverend Klay Aspoinwall says he found two potted marijuana plants on the roof of the church. He turned them over to the cops. The clergyman says a church member became suspicious when he saw a pair of legs dangling from the building's roof last weekend. Police have stepped up patrols in the area, but say they have no idea who the holy roller might be.

O Poets, Poets! Wherefore Art Thou Poets?

NEW YORK - The White House postponed a poetry symposium out of concerns it would be politicized after some poets said they wanted to protest military action against Iraq.

The symposium on the poetry of Emily Dickinson, Langston Hughes and Walt Whitman had been scheduled for Feb. 12. No future date has been announced for the event, to be held by first lady Laura Bush.

Mrs. Bush, a former librarian who has made teaching and early childhood development her signature issues, has held a series of White House symposiums to salute America's authors.

But the poetry symposium quickly inspired a nationwide protest. Sam Hamill, a poet and editor of the highly regarded Copper Canyon Press, declined the invitation and e-mailed friends asking for antiwar poems or statements.

He had expected about 50 responses; he's gotten more than 1,500, including contributions from W.S. Merwin, Adrienne Rich and Lawrence Ferlinghetti. Hamill will post all the submissions on a Web site he expects to have ready early next week.

White House invitations have inspired protests before. In 1965, poet Robert Lowell refused to attend a White House arts festival, citing opposition to the Vietnam War.

Note: Magic Wands Don't Work

BETHLEHEM, Pa. — A woman who says she bought magic wands from a self-described psychic to erase negative thoughts says $5,400 of her money was all that disappeared.

Joann Zansky, 57, said she paid a woman who claims to be a psychic $1,800 for each of three wands.

"She was a terrific actress," Zansky said. "I believed her."

Zansky said she contacted Bethlehem police Friday after she became suspicious about the effectiveness of the wands.

"We're investigating," police Lt. Robert Righi said Monday. "Possibly it is some violation of consumer fraud."

No charges have been filed against the woman named in the complaint. A person who answered the phone at the woman's business said she was unavailable.

Woman Sues After Getting Leg In Mail

HOUSTON — A woman who was horrified to receive her dead father's leg bones in the mail has sued the Texas DNA-testing lab she says sent the package just before Christmas.

In a federal lawsuit filed Monday in a Galveston court, LaMara Lane of North Pole, Alaska, seeks $1 million in damages from Houston's Identigene Inc.

Lane said she thought the package was a LobsterGram, a popular food gift in the Arctic. Instead, she found her father's leg bones and samples of his body tissue.

"This is the strangest case I've ever seen," Lane's attorney, Tony Buzbee, said in Tuesday's editions of the Houston Chronicle.

Buzbee said the lab was supposed to have them cremated and returned to a North Dakota funeral home as planned.

Identigene laboratory director Laura Gahn said she was following a North Dakota judge's order directing the lab to send the remains to Lane.

The lawsuit said Lane, 41, is an only child. Her father never married her mother, but she knew who her father was and visited him a few times during her life, according to the lawsuit.

Lane discovered she was the sole heir to his $200,000 estate after he died, Buzbee said.

He said the estate settlement was contested.

In April 2001, a North Dakota judge ordered Semmens' body exhumed so DNA tests could be performed. The tests proved Semmens was Lane's father.

"She can barely talk about it without crying," Buzbee said. "She's been having nightmares about it. She's had to store the bone and flesh in her neighbor's freezer."

Call Her The Cookie Monster

ANN ARBOR, Mich. - Call it a case of cookie rage. Police say Laura Smith of Belleville attacked the clerk at a mall cookie counter, because they didn't have a chocolate chip macadamia nut cookie. According to authorities, Smith threw a big box of tissue paper wrappers at the woman, hitting her in the face, then punched her. Smith claims the clerk started the confrontation with insults. Now, Smith faces up to three months in jail and a $500 fine. She'll be sentenced in March.

Condemned Town Prez On Betting Binge

CHICAGO - Federal prosecutors who want former Cicero Town President Betty Loren-Maltese in prison soon say she has been "binge betting" since her conviction in August.

Prosecutors say the woman convicted for her part in a scheme to take $12 million from the town has bet more than $1.2 million at Las Vegas Casinos since the trial last summer. They filed papers in court yesterday asking U.S. District Judge John Grady to stick to his decision to imprison her January 31.

The government is seeking restitution from Loren-Maltese and doesn't want her gambling the money away.

Toothpaste By The Ton

SAGINAW, Mich. — Guests of dentist Val Kolpakov are discouraged from brushing their teeth — that is, with any of the more than 800 tubes of toothpaste in his collection.

Kolpakov started collecting toothpaste just 10 months ago. The Saginaw dentist said he's spent about $3,000 to buy toothpaste tubes from Japan, China, India, Ukraine and his native Russia.

The collection now takes up half of one of Kolpakov's bedrooms.

"When I have visitors, they sleep there with the fresh scent of toothpaste," Kolpakov, 36, told The Saginaw News for a story Tuesday.

Kolpakov said his goal is to have his collection listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the world's largest. He said that would mean squeezing past a German named Carsten Gutzeit, who claims on his Web site that he has 898 tubes but doesn't mention being listed in Guinness.

"I'm almost there. I'm pretty sure I have the most in the United States," Kolpakov said. "I'm moving really fast."

Kolpakov's oldest item is a Colgate tube from 1908. He also has a used tube found in Germany during World War II and a 1960s-era Scotch whisky-flavored toothpaste that has "no more than 3 percent alcohol."

Quizno's 'Parrot' Ad Riles Bird Advocates

DENVER - If you watched the Super Bowl, you may remember the Quizno's commercial that features a man who's so obsessed with the perfect sandwich, he forgets everything -- including his pet bird.

At one point during the ad, the camera pans past what appears to be a dead bird lying at the bottom of the cage.

And as you might have guessed -- the parrot welfare people are upset.

A group called The Gabriel Foundation has launched an email campaign to get Quizno's officials to remove the bird -- which is fake -- from the commercial.

A group member says caged birds are dying in "epic proportions because of starvation and neglect" -- so the ad is "not appropriate."

Quizno's ad agency says it has assured the group that no birds were harmed in making the ad, and that the bird was just a prop.

Cactus Thieves Stalk Retirement Village

SURPRISE, Ariz. - Retirees here have a prickly problem: cactus thieves.

Police say crooks have snatched cactuses from the yards of about 50 homes in Sun City and Sun City Grand, retirement communities west of Phoenix. Residents are on the lookout.

"Every morning I look out to see if my three cactus are still there," said Rose Marie Kery, 62. "We all have open yards, so we're just watching out for each other. The thieves clearly know we go to bed early."

The culprits — police suspect more than one person is involved — kick over five or six cactuses in each yard, said Surprise police Detective Scott Bailey. They target shallow-rooted golden barrel cactuses.

Bailey said the thieves may be posing as landscapers to swipe the yellow-spined cactuses, which retail at about $150 each. The losses have added up to about $10,000 in Sun City Grand alone, Bailey said.

Residents aren't the only ones hurt. Legitimate nurseries say they are forced to compete against what has become a cactus black market.

Phil Finally Gets Some Respect

HARRISBURG, Pa. — After being snubbed by Pennsylvania governors for nearly a century, groundhog Punxsutawney Phil will finally get respect this year in the form of a visit from Gov. Ed Rendell.

The new governor plans travel to Punxsutawney on Feb. 1 to speak at the Groundhog Banquet and spend the night there so he can attend the Groundhog Day observance on Feb. 2, spokesman Tom Hickey said Thursday.

"He knows a good thing when he sees one," said Bill Deeley, Punxsutawney Phil's handler.

It will be the first time that a governor has attended a Groundhog Day-related event in Punxsutawney since Gov. Edwin S. Stuart attended a Groundhog Banquet picnic there in the summer of 1909.

Groundhog Day is "certainly a Pennsylvania tradition, and the governor is excited about the opportunity to participate," Hickey said.

Phil and his handler were featured in Rendell's inaugural parade in Harrisburg last week.

On Feb. 2, at a spot known as Gobbler's Knob, Phil will emerge from his hole and "predict" the weather. According to folklore, if the groundhog sees his shadow, it means six more weeks of winter; if not, it signals an early spring.

Lunar Real Estate Agent Jailed

AMSTERDAM, Netherlands - For years, Rene Veenema says he made a small fortune selling real estate plots on the moon. Now he's in jail, on Earth.

Veenema, 33, has been accused of fraud and forgery by prosecutors investigating complaints from clients who said they paid for, but never received, ownership certificates for their parcels of land in space, the daily Telegraaf newspaper reported Tuesday.

He claims he sold plots for around $1,600 each through the U.S.-based firm Lunar Embassy.

The American company has sold plots since 1996 to owners who include Johnny Carson, Ed McMahon, David Letterman, Ed Asner, Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter. Since then, the moon has sold well in Europe — last year the lots were a popular Valentine's Day gift in Romania — even though few if any buyers can ever hope to set foot on their property.

"Like most things I start up, the moon project had a promising start. But when the rush failed to materialize — I had expected tens of thousands of orders per month — I ordered a car, a house, you name it," he was quoted as saying.

"In fact, I have been pulling this off for more than 10 years," Veenema told the newspaper. "My employers, my colleagues, my ex-girlfriend, I conned them all."

When he gets out of jail, Veenema said he intends to repay all those he swindled and "learn to stop lying and cheating."

You Know You Have One

WASHINGTON - The post office has a plea for the public -- give back the tubs!

Millions of plastic mail-storage tubs are missing. They're great for storing files and videos at home and in the office. They act as foot-rests and plant stands. But they're vital to getting the mail sorted, processed and delivered. And they cost the government, and taxpayers, $3.25 each.

Two years ago, the U.S. Postal Service had 20 million of the tubs. Today that figure is down to 20,000. Authorities don't want to have to buy more.

So they're offering an amnesty: Return the tubs, no questions asked, and ignore the warning on the tubs saying people who steal them will be prosecuted.

You can bring them to the nearest post office, or leave them for your letter carrier.

Unwitting Animal Rights Advocate

OMAHA, Nebraska - It was a two-for-one rescue for firefighters in Omaha, Nebraska. Jared Hynek got stuck in a tree yesterday, after he tried to save a cat that had been in the tree for two days. Hynek says he decided to take matters into his own hands, when the fire department didn't respond to calls about the cat. So, he grabbed some climbing gear and went after the feline himself. While Hynek was able to get up the tree, he couldn't get down. Neighbors saw his predicament and called for help. Firefighters rescued Hynek, then brought down the cat.

Marines Deny 'Idol' Worship

CAMP PENDLETON - The Marines are denying reports that a Marine at Camp Pendleton who is competing in Fox's "American Idol" was exempted from ongoing deployments to the Persian Gulf. Lance Corporal Joshua Gracin, a Marine assigned to Camp Pendleton, was recently seen in the first stage of the competition on "American Idol," the talent show that features contestants singing live. In a statement issued Monday, the Marines say recent reports that state the Corps exempted Gracin from deployments are false. The reports quoted members of Gracin's family. Marine Corps officials say Gracin was scheduled to remain behind at Camp Pendleton.

And I Thought American Football Fans Were Nuts ...

CAGLIARI, Sardinia — A veteran defender of the second-division Cagliari soccer team found his luxury car ablaze outside his home — an apparent punishment by local fans for having scored an own goal in the team's weekend loss.

The Sardinian team's 3-0 loss Sunday at Venezia made them slide out of the four top places that award promotion to the top division at the end of the season.

"This soccer is sick, there is something wrong in this sport," defender Gianluca Grassadonia told the Italian news agency ANSA.

Police said they did not know who was behind the attack, although club officials said they feared it was the work of hooligan fans.

The attack on Grassadonia's car was only the latest case of violence involving players in this soccer-crazy country.

Last week, fans insulted and shoved a midfielder with Piacenza because of his long-postponed return from vacation. In December, a Napoli defender was attacked and slightly injured as he drove home following his team loss. Again in Cagliari last month, a fan invaded the pitch and knocked out the visiting goalkeeper.

Grassadonia, 31, said he might consider leaving the team.

"At the moment I have not taken any decision on whether to stay here or leave. My children saw the fire outside home and now were scared," he said.

Noisy, Messy Symbol Of Darkness Invades Ann Arbor

ANN ARBOR, Mich. — There are about 39,000 students at the University of Michigan's Ann Arbor campus. And about 14,000 crows.

Experts aren't sure what has caused the noisy birds to congregate in such numbers. But two things they make in large quantities — droppings, and a racket — are causing them to wear out their welcome.

Entomologist Dale Hodgson, head of the campus pest management division, has been the point man for seven years in the effort to disperse the birds.

Hodgson has been trying to scatter the crows using "Bird Bangers" — fireworks that scream and trail flames after being launched. The goal is to scare them away, not hurt them.

"They're a fascinating bird," Hodgson told The Detroit News for a Tuesday story. "Their adaptability is incredible. It's amazing how they've adapted to an urban environment."

Hodgson most recently has focused on the area around the President's House, which is unoccupied during renovations. President Mary Sue Coleman has been on the job only since last July, but she already knows what to watch out for.

"I am very, very careful to cover my head when I walk in that area of campus," Coleman says. "It beats me why they find the President's House so attractive."

Falling Ice Mystery

LAWRENCEVILLE, Ga. — It was a chilling mystery when a beachball-sized ice block crashed through a roof and landed in an unoccupied bedroom.

The sound was "like a door was slammed, but 20 times louder," said Joey Woodard, 14. "I looked around and wondered if a car hit the house."

No one was injured when the 2-foot-wide chunk landed one morning last week. Neither Rachel Smith, 23, nor her 6-year-old half-sister Barbara, were in the bedroom they share.

The piece of ice may have fallen from a passing airplane, homeowner Christine Woodard said she was told by the Federal Aviation Administration. The FAA said it is investigating.

"We've heard of cases happening before, but it is very rare," FAA spokesman Christopher White said. "A lot depends on the prevailing winds."

Supreme Court Cans Barbie 'Bimbo' Case

WASHINGTON - Toymaker Mattel lost a Supreme Court appeal Monday over a mocking pop song that called the iconic fashion doll Barbie a "blonde bimbo."

The high court did not comment in turning down Mattel's request to reopen a trademark fight over the 1997 dance hit "Barbie Girl." Mattel claims the preteen girls who buy Barbie dolls were duped into thinking the song was an advertisement for the doll or part of Mattel's official line of Barbie products.

The song, by a Danish group called Aqua, includes the lyrics, "I'm a blonde bimbo in a fantasy world/Dress me up, make it tight, I'm your dolly."

Mattel Inc., which gets $1.5 billion or more annually in Barbie sales, complained that an advertisement for the song ran during Saturday morning cartoons and that MCA Records Inc. even wanted to sell the recording at toy stores.

Pileup Prompts Sewage Spill

LOS ANGELES - A 14-car pileup in Los Angeles has left a lot more than bent sheet metal.

Authorities say the pileup just after 8 p.m. last night led to a large spill of human waste from a sewage truck.

Police are investigating.

GayCoffees Won't Make You Gay

LAWRENCE, Kansas - Sipping GayCoffees won't make you gay. So says company president Catherine Kelly. She says she had an email from a concerned person worried about side effects a little more pronounced than a caffeine buzz.

GayCoffees, originally based in Lawrence, Kansas, is trying to raise money and awareness with custom blends. Kelly says they have one product called Fetish Beans, with the slogan, "Whipping the charity out of you."

Kelly says the leather community loves that one. Kelly says about 40 percent of the retail price of the coffee is donated to targeted charities in the gay and lesbian communities.

Man's Best Friend

HAMPSTEAD, N.H. — A collie named Jarrod has earned the title of man's best friend.

The 1½-year-old dog pushed his owner away from beneath his snow-covered roof down a stairway seconds before the roof collapsed onto the deck.

"If I was under it I would have been crushed," said David Levesque, who uses a wheelchair. "The way I was leaning over the rail I would have been cut in half, I would have been killed."

The weight of the 12-by-14-foot roof was later estimated at nearly 4,000 pounds.

Levesque, 61, disabled by severe arthritis and spinal problems, said he was leaning against a railing and reaching up with one of his arm crutches to remove some snow when Jarrod started pushing him.

Levesque says he believes Jarrod, who is trained to help him get around, knew exactly what he was doing and saved his life the morning of Jan. 6.

"Dogs and other animals have heightened senses that allow them to hear things we can't hear," said veterinarian Roger G. Wells. "He may have heard the rafters creaking or the timbers starting the break in the roof before it collapsed."