November 28, 2016

Being a Dog by Alexandra Horowitz

It’s a well-known fact that a dog’s nose is remarkably better than a humans. But just how good is it? Horowitz dives in, or rather crouches down, to really find out. What transpires is a fascinating exploration of the power of not only dogs’ noses but of humans’ as well. In order to better understand a dog’s scent-abilities, Horowitz found many opportunities to view working dogs at their best as well as exercising her own sniffer.  She highlights some incredible dogs including those that can detect cancer, or track endangered animals, can locate contraband materials, to discovering underground highly sought after truffles. A dog can tell when its owner should be coming home, when it’s about to rain, it can even assess the gender, age, health, etc. of another dog. 

Humans’ and dogs’ noses have become weaker over the centuries largely because it’s not as important survival-wise. Dogs depend on their owners and we depend on technology. Plus, noses will continue to become weaker unless we exercise this undervalued sense. Try paying more attention to the smells around you and what they might actually mean. Does that sweet smell in the air mean it's going to rain? Also, if you have a dog try playing the Find It game and allow him or her to sniff longer on your walks instead of pulling them along.  If you love dogs or have an interest in all things smelly, you’ll enjoy this book.  

I found Being a Dog captivating and would often find myself sharing my new knowledge with anyone who would listen. For instance: a human nose can produce up to 2 liters of mucus in a day!! I can’t wait to exercise my smeller more by sniffing everything! 

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