The Licked Hand

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The Licked Hand, known sometimes as The Doggy Lick or Humans Can Lick Too,[1] is an urban legend. It has several versions, and has been found in print as early as February 1982.


A very young girl is home alone for the first time with only her dog for company. Listening to the news, she hears of a killer on the loose in her neighborhood. Terrified, she locks all the doors and windows, but she forgets about the basement window and it is left unlocked. She goes to bed, taking her dog to her room with her and letting it sleep under her bed. She wakes in the night to hear a dripping sound coming from the bathroom. The dripping noise frightens her, but she is too scared to get out of bed and find out what it is. To reassure herself, she reaches a hand toward the floor for the dog and is rewarded by a reassuring lick on her hand. The next morning when she wakes, she goes to the bathroom for a drink of water only to find her dead, mutilated dog hanging in the shower with his blood slowly dripping onto the tiles. On the shower wall, written in the dog's blood, are the words "HUMANS CAN LICK TOO."

Other story variations feature a nearsighted old woman rather than a young girl. The fate of the dog also varies, from the dog simply being hanged to it being skinned, disemboweled, or otherwise mutilated. The message is sometimes written on the floor or on the bathroom mirror rather than on the wall. Some versions include the parents' return and their discovery of the killer hiding elsewhere in the house, frequently in the basement, the girl's bedroom closet, or under her bed. In other versions, the girl's parents arrive back in the morning and ask if their daughter had a good night. When she tells them that her dog had kept her calm by licking her hand, she is told that the dog in question had been locked either in the basement or outside. The story usually either ends with the killer never being found and/or the girl dying.



  1. ^ Brunvand, Jan Harold (2001). Encyclopedia of Urban Legends. ABC-CLIO. p. 240. ISBN 1-57607-076-X. the licked hand.


  • David Martin Brown/DB Martin. "Bedtime for Sam". Calhoun, EBDB Books, Feb 1982 and is credited in two films for the origin of the legend.
  • Baker, Ronald L. Hoosier Folk Legends. Bloomington, Indiana University Press, 1982.
  • Brunvand, Jan Harold. The Choking Doberman. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 1984.