Tuesday, 12 January 2016

Sniffing Cancer

Being a gob-shite can have it's benefits.
Last night I received a chatty phone call from the owner of the miniature chicken coop .
Luckily my diplomatic note had not elicited a " fuck you" response , it was quite the opposite.
After a friendly chat, the bloke took me up on the offer of a run AND an old hen house and will come to give them the once over a little later in the week.
I get peace of mind, he gets a free coop and the chickens get a proper home.

Anyhow, today's post is revisiting something that happened a couple of weeks ago. I had almost forgotten about it but was reminded by watching the brief tableau of  Albert with his nose inside one of Winnie's ears  The cat loves a good long sniff when both are lying on the floor.
It's one of their many bonding moments.

Anyhow, the situation I am referring to was a brief meeting between Welsh terrier and country rambler. I had tied William and Mary to the field gate and was busy distributing a large bin bag of donated bread to the the geese and the sheep ( every week the DIY lesbians from Prestatyn drop off the bread as a gift but that's another story) ANYHOW, a group of ramblers walked up the lane in the rain and three women in waterproofs stopped to make a fuss of Mary.
I walked back to the gate to see Mary going all goo-goo eyes with two women whilst the man of the group was gently patting a calm smiling William on the head and as I came close I heard one of the women say " Brian he's sniffing your cheek! "
William seemed intent on something. He was stretching his head towards the man's face , very much like he does with me when I have spare food stuck in my beard, and he was sniffing very hard.
The women seemed amused and surprised by this and it was only a second or two later that I realised just why, for when the man straightened up and pushed back the hood of his coat, I could see a very fresh skin dressing over a mark on his cheek.
" he knows what you've had done" one of the woman said laughing gently  " Isn't that strange?"
The man bent down again and again William sniffed hard at his cheek
" I've had a skin cancer removed last week" he said in way of explanation .
Clever things dogs.

Gentle old William 


  1. Amazing. They can tell you when you are about to have an eplieptic fit too - change in chemicals, I suppose.

  2. I suspect he smelt bloody - I should keep an eye on 'gentle' William if I were you!

  3. It's a skill quite a few dogs have, now you know he most likely has it, trust his judgement if he ever shows an interest in you or a visiting relative or friend.

    Dogs have amazing talents that we only know the half of.

    How lovely of the DIY lesbians to bring you a regular supply of bread, and no doubt occasionally a bit of blogging material ;-)

  4. Yes, they really are amazing - it's good to have a reminder that those we consider 'dumb' are often acutely aware of issues to which we are completely blind. Our best friends indeed!

  5. such a handsome boy william is!

  6. An amazing sense of smell

  7. And Winnie made that man's week so much sweeter.

  8. Animals are amazing aren't they! Good news about the chickens all round then. See, as I said a few posts ago - you are kind!!!

  9. One of the hospitals in Hawaii have a program with dogs who detect cancer in people.

    1. With nhs cuts, here..who knows what could happen

    2. I remember seeing a program years ago about dogs being able to smell bladder cancer in urine samples. Amazing. Good to see it is being taken seriously
      And the UK is doing it too http://www.npr.org/2015/08/16/432443226/for-cancer-detecting-canines-the-nose-knows

  10. I thought the man had the cancer removed last week. Did they leave some then? The dog sniffed a plaster.

    1. I have no idea rachel, he just seemed overly interested in the area..perhaps it was the plaster or perhaps he had been eating chocolate...who knows

    2. This is a dog sniffing something interesting just as a dog sniffs my crotch.

    3. I watched a programme about this, and when an owner had, had a cancer removed the dog showed as much interest in the area as though checking out a thorough job had been done before going back to paying no attention to it.

      With a dogs sense of smell being so acute William could well have picked up that work had been done and would quite possibly have been checking it out.

  11. I hope his scar is as neat as mine. Very pleased with the result - even if it is very visible.

  12. I was thinking of you

    1. Funnily enough, I thought you might have been.

  13. When I worked in hospice, the nurses swore by the urban legend that cats in nursing homes always know when a resident is about to die and will come keep vigil.

  14. John...
    This isn't the first time I've read about dogs, and other animals, being able to smell cancer...
    given that they are so sensitive to smell..
    and are used as drug and explosive hunters...
    perhaps the NHS ought to get some poor, short on ideas postgrads to do a controlled study.

    As I didn't catch up on yesyerdays post, I'll put me h'appeth in here...
    we now have three chooks...
    we bought a commercial run [being beginners] that said "for four to six hens"... 'ollocks!
    It wasn't big enough for four bantams...
    certainly not three young, but growing fast, Orpington crosses....
    one of which turned out to be a strapping cockerel...
    who we will keep and plant a tree over when the day comes...
    Vinny looks after his sister-wives so very well!!

    We now have a much nicer six-berth establishment for them which opens directly into their run and has an electric door...
    I am taking the "much nicer" from their behaviour....
    in the recent rains, they haven't even got up...
    just poking their heads out occasionally to see if it had cleared a bit...
    with the old one, it was always a race to be first out....
    no matter how grotty the weather.
    Perhaps it is time for the RSPCA to start giving the manufacturers some guidelines.
    Even the six-berth isn't big enough for six... four, yes... never six!

    We'll keep the old one...
    and get some bantams....
    or use it as a broody cage...
    Vinny's offspring would be nice to have around!!
    And Happy, Healthy and spirituall Wealthy 2016...
    Gytha Citroën.

  15. Animals are clever and perceptive, William looks like a lovely soul!

  16. Had a lovely miniature schnauzer named Wallace when I first found out I was diabetic. He always knew when my blood sugar levels dropped and would paw my leg, cry, etc... until I checked my bsl and ate something, then he was fine. Later I spoke with my endo about it and she said it was actually a pretty common phenomenon.

    Imagine the cheek, thinking anything about Wallace was common! ;-)

  17. I'm sure that dogs can smell small traces of lots of things. The trick is to make useful this ability and train a response to a useful scent that is there or not - rather than it could be cancer, dibetic bsl, last nights pasty or dog poo on your shoe.
    I think there was a police dog that could smell blood (or was it gun fire) and was loaned out, for a price, to other Police Services to work. The dog earnt more than the Chief Constable.

  18. I've read stories of animals having a sixth sense with illnesses. Amazing.

  19. The way dogs can sniff out things that we humans can't is amazing. Not just epileptic fits and hypos, but pending asthma attacks and all sorts of medical conditions. Our sense of smell is pretty primitive by comparison.

  20. Oh, they're clever thing indeed. When I had my heart attack, both our terriers knew something was wrong. They stayed with me while I waited for the ambulance, and while they're normally very protective and rambunctious about strangers (especially ones approaching us), they sat back and let the paramedics get to work and didn't even bark as we left.

    And does this mean you'll be getting eggs?

    1. I doubt it.
      My new hens will be comming in 8 weeks or so

  21. William...you are so beautiful! Yes, you are...not handsome...BEAUTIFUL!!!

  22. Smart little William indeed . . .

  23. Anonymous3:45 pm

    Dogs are amazing creatures.

  24. Happy to hear those chickens are taken care of.

  25. The chickens shall be very grateful. Good work.

    I have read they have been using dogs for early detection of cancer. Before my sister's surgery Lizzy was with her every step. Since she is cancer free, Lizzy is not as attentive.

    Have a wonderful week.

  26. I've heard about this fascinating trait that some animals have....there must be a lot we really don't know about so very much in this world....and well done on your kind gesture with the coop John.x

  27. William has such a lovely face. Those eyes!

  28. Good old William! A lovely intuitive dog.

  29. Our Staffy, Fin, knew I was pregnant before I did!

  30. Off chicken at the mo. Avian Flu been detected up here. Quite a bit away from us but close enough to be worried. The Government spokesman on the radio this morning said there was only a 'very slight' risk to human health. That's very reassuring....not!!

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