The 4-1-1 on 9-1-1

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These days cranks are easier to catch. "Most cities have an enhanced form of 911 that automatically traces the call back to its origin and puts it on a display for the operator. If there is a quick hang-up or crank call, they Know where it's coming from."

Of course, so many folks have 911 set on speed dial that there are still a lot of false alarms. One couple knocked a bedside phone off the hook while they were in throes of hot sex.

A 911 dispatcher heard moaning and screaming in the background, and figured somebody might be bound and gagged and desperately calling for help. The police snapped into action, responding to a "possible assault in progress."

In the same manner, a cat and a tomato also called 911 in similar fashion.

Once a 8-year-old Irish setter named Lyric called 911, but this pooch really meant it.

Her owner, Judi Bayly, had suffered an asthma attack and couldn't wake up. After licking Bayly's face failed to revive her, Lyric got worried and called for help. "It's amazing," said Charlene Hall, a dispatcher at Nashua Fire and Rescue in New Hampshire. "The dog is trained to go over and hit that phone three times to get 911 and she barks into the receiver."

Lyric is a specially trained medical assistance dog and emergency workers say that day she saved a life and, most certainly, earned her kibble.

One should remember that calling 911 is sometimes a public service, done for the benefit of others. One elderly male caller reported, "There's a woman over here doing some yard work in one of thong bikinis."

"Sir," said an exasperated dispatcher, "911 is an emergency number. What do you expect the police to do about a woman in a thong bikini?"

"Nothing," the guy said, "Just thought you fellows would like to know."

Buck Wolf is entertainment producer at The Wolf Files is published Tuesdays and Thursdays. If you want to receive weekly notice when a new column is published, join the e-mail list.