Dogs have an amazing sense of smell. In some cases, they can detect odors something like 1000 or times as well as humans. On the “My Doggie Says…” show, we’ve heard Dave Reaver, who trains dogs for K-9 service, talk about dogs’ ability to detect drugs and explosives. And Karen Klingberg, of the Search Dog Foundation, described dogs’ ability to detect the odors of humans in disaster recovery situations.
I’ve heard all these doggie smell facts and figures, but I’ve never seen them work firsthand. But last night I got my first taste — I mean “smell.”
Callie, Barbara and I are spending the Thanksgiving weekend with our daughter Karen, and her husband Chris, at our Lake Arrowhead home. Last night, the five of us drove to Lake Arrowhead Village to witness the arrival of Santa Clause. The weather is kind of brisk, so we all bundled up with jackets and hats, Karen with her Russian-looking black cap — which makes her look like she should be Olga in a James Bond movie.
We returned home from the celebration and settled into our house with a toasty oak fire in the fireplace.
Just before bedtime, I took Callie outdoors for a little walk, so she could pee and sniff around — “read the papers,” as Ted Kerasote says. She peed and sniffed for a while. Then, as we headed home, Callie started some very serious sniffing at the left rear tire of our car. As usual, in these situations, I let her take charge, and she sniffed all the way to the front of the car and, then, clear across the front. I couldn’t imagine what was so enticing, but Callie was really sniffing hard.
Then, as we worked our way from the right front toward the right rear of the car — near the right passenger door — Callie leaned over and picked something up. In the dark, i couldn’t tell what it was, and I was concerned that it could be a dead animal — or something worse. So I reached out to see what she had, and, to my surprise, it was Karen’s black Russian hat!
Wow. That was some pretty impressive sniffing. Now I’m a true believer in dogs’ sense of smell. Needless to say, Callie was the hero of the evening for saving Karen’s hat.
Sometimes you get a great reward for letting your dog have its way!