Monday, February 14, 2005

The Incredible Nose

Did you know that certain dogs may actually be able to "sniff out" cancer? Researchers at Cambridge University (England) believe the same sensory sensitivity that allows dogs to make accurate drug and bomb identifcations can also allow dogs to identify early stage cancers (click here for more details).

Dogs helping people is nothing new. We use seizure alert dogs , service dogs, psychiatric service dogs, hearing dogs, guide dogs, police dogs, herding dogs, hunting dogs, therapy dogs, and many other kinds of helping dogs to aid us in our work and to improve our quality of living. Our canine friends don't hesitate to assist us as we have need and as they have ability.

And now they may be able to help us with cancer, all because of the wonderful wacky protrusion we call a nose. A display at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles cites these interesting statistics:

  • Of all a dog's senses, its sense of smell is the most highly developed.
  • Dogs have about 25 times more olfactory (smell) receptors than humans do.
  • Dogs can sense odors at concentrations nearly 100 million times lower than humans can.
  • Dogs can detect one drop of blood in five quarts of water!
The dog nose is indeed a miracle of grace. It serves canines and humans well.

In addition to these serious works, however, dog noses can also provide comic relief. Check out these pictures of dog noses great and small (compliments of Dog Nose Heaven). They'll be sure to make you smile.

I think I need to remember these things the next time our dogs sniff others inappropriately (well, inappropriately by human standards). They're just doing what comes naturally. And what comes naturally for them and others of their kind helps thousands of people all over the world. :o)

'Til next time,

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