Monday, July 30, 2012

Man's Best Friend Is Really Woman's Best Friend

Michael Gallacher

A woman in the U.K. discovered she had breast cancer when she could no longer dismiss her Cavalier King Charles spaniel constantly sniffing and nuzzling her breast.

Sharon Rawlinson tells Fox News that her dog Penny "would gently paw me as if she was trying to get something out of my left breast, but I ignored it. When she stood on me in the middle of the night and wouldn't get off, the pain was like a thousand bee stings."

Doctors confirmed Penny's suspicions and found an aggressive tumor growing in Rawlinson's breast. She started chemotherapy immediately to shrink the tumor and underwent surgery today.

Last year, researchers in Germany found that specially-trained dogs could sniff-out cancer in a patient's breath 70 percent of time. Other studies have yielded accuracy rates between 88 and 97 percent. Dogs have been known to detect skin, breast, bladder, lung, and ovarian cancers as well as diabetes.

Doctors believe that tumors produce certain chemical compounds that emit a scent that eludes humans but which dogs can pick up on. Animal experts believe that a dog's sense of smell is as much as one million times more sensitive than our own.

According to Charlene Bayer, a principal research scientist at Georgia Tech Research Institute, "[the dogs] don't necessarily know what's wrong, but they know that there's something that's not normal, that you don't smell the way you normally do."

While Penny is just a regular domestic pet, stories such as this one make it hard to overlook the seemingly extraordinary connection between humans and the animal kingdom.

In his book, Your Dog Is Your Mirrorauthor Kevin Behan proposes the theory that owner and dog share one "group mind."  This comes as no surprise to any pet owner; most will tell you that there are times when their pets' intuition is nothing short of miraculous.

Quincy, my 18lb. tuxedo cat who often sleeps with his body wedged tightly against my side, very noticeably preferred to lay vigilant at my feet or on the chair in my bedroom during my recovery. I have little doubt that he sensed something was different and patiently waited for the moment when it would be safe to snuggle up closely near my chest once again.


And to shift gears slightly...for anyone who thinks that cats aren't cool let me leave with you with this little exchange Fashionista had with CFDA winner Jason Wu about the debut of his new lower-priced fashion line Miss Wu in which he clarifies that his muse is definitely a "cat person."
Fashionista: Us cat people get stuck with a stigma sometimes–that we’re creepy and destined to die alone with lots of cats.
Jason Wu: I’m changing that. Cats are chic! It’s called a catwalk not a dog walk.
 Amen Jason...amen...

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