Monday, 18 August 2014

Mans best friend

I am frequently astonished just how much a person's life can be improved by a dog.  Guide dogs for the blind have been around for many years now, as have hearing dogs for the deaf.  But what astonishes me is the way dogs can be trained to do all sorts of jobs - such as emptying the washing machine or pressing the button at a pelican crossing.  I have met quite a few assistance dogs, including one that had to be trained not only as a guide dog but also to help its disabled keeper (the dog was still owned by the charity which supplied it) with various tasks such as opening doors.

It has been documented just how having a dog can help autistic children - as this clip shows:

But what I find really exciting is the news that some dogs can detect cancer in people just by smell!  I can't face paraphrasing and typing all this so have copied it from 
"Dogs can smell in parts per trillion. An example of this is: one cc (less than a drop) of blood, diluted into 20 Olympic sized swimming pools.  . . . We have trained dogs to sniff gun powder, narcotics, missing persons, and now, finally, diseases. The interesting part about this is that cancer absolutely has a smell. Most oncologists will tell you that humans can actually smell cancer in latter stages through the patients breath. If we can smell it at stage 3-4, then of course a dog would be able to detect the scent much earlier, in stage 0, 1 or 2. There are many published studies that prove dogs can detect cancer through breath samples, and scientists and doctors are trying to come up with a breathalyzer test that works as good as the dogs nose. So far, the only ones that can smell cancer in early stages, are the dogs."

I find that absolutely astonishing.

1 comment:

Jenny Woolf said...

Nice story about the little boy and his dog. Yes, the cancer thing makes you wonder what else dogs can do.