Danny, a 15-pound, 7-year-old poodle, was merely trying to answer his master's call, observers said later.
The problem was that Danny was exploring the roof of a 14-story building under construction in Alexandria. His master, Herman Dean, was whistling for him out a window on the first floor. And Danny took the shortest route down, jumping 140 feet to the ground.
He landed,only slightly injured, in a pile of mud.
Yesterday, Danny was a little stunned, and was nursing a sore left foreleg, but he was nonetheless resting comfortably at his New Carrollton home, according to Dean.
"It was the most amazing thing," veterinarian Frances Dougherty, who treated the poodle, said.
Dougherty said she knew poodles "like to jump a lot" and that she had even read about cats jumping out of highrises in New York. But never had she treated a poodle who could jump 140 feet and suffer not even a broken bone. Dogs, she added, "usually make out better than humans" in falls.
Dean, who was inspecting the plumbing and heating systems at the Alexandria Knolls building on Edsall Road Saturday afternoon, had taken Danny along because the dog had made a frll when Dean tried to leave for work without him.
"He followed me to the door and kept jumping on me, jumping on the door," Dean recalled. So he too Danny alone.
Once he go to be construction site, Dean inspected a few floors, then went back to ground level. "All of a sudden, the little dog was gone," Dean said.
Danny had apparently climbed up 14 flights of concrete stairs to the roof where some bricklayers were at work. Dean, thinking the dog was outside, stuck his head out a window and whistled "the loudest I ever whistled in my life."
Danny came flying down.
After the dog landed "It looked like it was asleep," said Victor Sandoval, a construction worker who was one of the first to reach Danny after the fall. Then, as if risen from the dead, Danny got up and began to limp around, Sandoval said.
"I just couldn't believe my eyes," as emotional Dean said later."I thought he was dead.
Dean washed the mud off his whimpering pet with a hose and raced Danny to the Beltsville Veterinary Hospital, where the dog was treated and released.
Danny has never attended an obedience school, Dean said. "I trained him myself . . . I guess I trained him pretty good" Dean added.