A Nose for News

By Don Doman

Robert Stack has a nose for news. On a recent episode of Americaís Most Bizarre or whatever they call his TV program that provides titillating glimpses of the almost paranormal with quasi-news vignettes and outlandish speculation. (Gee, that sounds like the Tacoma City Council, too.)

My information-seeking, channel switching fingers discovered an interesting story about cancer-sniffing dogs on Bobís program. The dogs donít actually sniff all kinds of cancer (yet), but they do locate the presence of skin cancer on humans - just like police dogs sniff out hidden drugs in suitcases at customs.

The dogs on Bobís dramatized program sniffed all over the bodies of two people. Both people were lying down on a medical examination table. The subjects were covered with approximately two dozen Band-Aids on their backs, arms and legs. The Band-Aids covered both areas of cancer and non-cancer. The dogs correctly identified areas of melanoma, a deadly form of skin cancer.

Those cancer sniffing canines are part of a growing number of service animals. Service animals, most noticeably seeing-eye dogs help mankind. Some dogs warn their owners of impending seizures. They sense a particular change in the person. Is it a far away look in their eye? Is it an electro-chemical change? Maybe, it is just a change in odor? Weíve all heard that dogs can smell fear. Perhaps, they and other animals could be trained to smell more aspects of human behavior.

Could dogs or other service animals be used to identify people with business and managerial acumen? Perhaps, prosperous people have that sweet smell of success? Could service animals be trained to identify luck? Office skills? Dependability? Could this be a new service? A new industry? Doggie Human Resources. The ideal-worker-odor could be taught to the dog who then would sniff out the ideal candidate. That candidate would then be hired. Dogs could be used retroactively, also. Service dogs could wander through the workplace identifying sexiest managers, incompetent managers, unmotivated workers.

If in fact, service animals could be trained to identify individuals with certain traits, wouldnít yet another industry spring up? Just as perfume companies use potions to make people smell sexually attractive, they could produce perfumes to let people give off bogus odors. For example, if I were an incompetent manager, I might purchase a perfume or after-shave to confuse the dogs by masking the bad trait smell and replacing it with a smell that might get a promotion instead.

Perfume companies would love to manufacture potions so that people could smell like a million bucks and achieve it.

If a potential employee was denied employment because an animal turned down their nose at them, could the animals be sued? Could doggie liability be proved? I can see a new category of attorneys springing up here.

I see other possibilities as well: Women could have service dogs as date indicators. The dogs could identify men who only have one thing on their minds. (I know, itís redundant.) Fido could howl like a wolf to warn their female owner or perhaps just run over and hump her leg and point.

Basketball coaches might use service dogs to sniff out players who will suffer from contract envy. As a warning the dogs could become surly, miss practice and bite the hand that feeds them.

Women who always choose the wrong men could perhaps get a special dispensation to say they have a disability so that their dogs could go anywhere with them.

The Municipal League might want to use service cats to identify political candidates who are on the verge of self-destruction. The cats could cough up hair-balls.

Baseball management could use service dogs to identify key players moved up from the minor leagues. . . so they can be traded away. The dogs could run out to left field.

In the past, the animals used to work to earn their keep. Our animal companions have been receiving a free ride from humans for years. Theyíve been living the good life. (Except for that spay and neutering thing.) The time has come for dogs, cats and other house animals to work, again, for the greater good of humankind and broadcast TV.

I think Robert Stack would be pleased with this article. In fact, this article might appear on Robertís TV program. Well, if it were only a little more far-fetched.



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