The other day I was crocheting while Bodie took his first big nap of the day. Although I was sitting next to a window with the sun streaming in on my face, the crochet pattern I was following was hard for me to read, the page wasn’t coming into focus. Eventually it came into my brain that I was having a blood sugar drop and needed to eat. At the same time Catcher walked up behind me and persistently nudged my elbow. He has done this behavior numerous other times but I never made any connection as to why he did it. I thought he was being a pest. In fact I now believe he is telling me to get up and eat, which I did, grabbing an apple. Within ten minutes the page was clear and all was normal. Catcher went off to snooze in another room.
Dogs can detect cancer in humans, notify us of seizures before they happen, and sniff out hidden drugs, to name a few miraculous ways they use their nose. Their sense of smell is supposedly ten-thousand times better than a human. They possess up to 300 million olfactory receptors in their noses, compared to about six million in us. What is truly remarkable is that dogs will take upon themselves to come to us when they detect something wrong or different. It shows how much more attuned they are to their owners than we are to them. I have not trained Catcher to be a medical alert dog. It’s something he is doing on his own and I take it as a sign that we have a very strong, loving bond.
Catcher may not be a stellar obedience champion. He is definitely the worst brat as far as dogs go that I have owned in a half century. He has lofty degrees in counter surfing, kitty litter barrier destruction, not coming when called; a dog who gives me the eye every day like I’m an obstinate lamb. But he’s found his job in life, to help me. It’s just another example of the mystery and intelligence of dogs. They should never be underestimated.