Health Care Needs Dogs
The Subconscious Fat of How Dogs can Help with Health Care
I’m proposing we start a whole new division in health care—an entirely new medical specialty where humans and dogs are trained together. Hospitals should have full floors dedicated to dogs and their trainers to help them detect diseases. We must create a new healthcare degree for trainers and their dogs.
Mr. Skeptical interrupts, “And who are you to make these claims? Why should anyone listen to you? Your ego has truly gone through the roof today.”
I stand up from my computer and stare down at Mr. Skeptical. My face is tense. “Dogs are only used now in hospitals as emotional support. It’s like having an expensive sports car like a Lamborghini and only looking at it, never driving it. The potential for dogs in health care is huge. Dogs could’ve saved thousands of lives during Covid.”
Mr. Skeptical’s eyes narrow in on me. “I highly doubt that.”
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Subconscious Fat at 30,000 feet
The superpower that dogs have is their ability to smell. We already use that ability to find dead bodies, drugs, and for hunting. We need to start using it for health care.
A dog has 300 million scent receptors in its nose. Humans only have 6 million. To understand this vast difference, an example is in order. A human can smell a teaspoon of sugar in a cup of tea, right?
“I’ll believe that.” Mr. Skeptical nods in agreement.
“But a dog can smell a teaspoon of sugar in two Olympic-sized pools. The difference is that big.”
“We already know they can smell much better than humans.”
“And that is my point. There’s so much Subconscious Fat in the underutilization of canines in health care. Dogs are already trained and used to detect conditions like narcolepsy–an extreme medical condition where one can fall asleep suddenly. A canine can detect it 5 minutes before it happens!”
“Fine, that’s impressive. Return to what you said earlier: dogs could’ve saved lives during COVID-19. How?”
Subconscious Fat at 10,000 feet
“It’s quite simple how dogs could’ve saved lives during the pandemic. Suppose dogs were deployed as early as February 2020, when Covid-19 was taking its first ominous steps across the globe. By utilizing dogs as an early screening tool, identifying potential cases could have begun months before traditional testing methods became widely accessible.”
“But how would the dogs know someone had Covid?”
“According to a scientist interviewed on Malcolm Gladwell’s podcast Revisionist History, a dog would only need to smell an individual’s hand to detect Covid.”
“That’s it, smell the hand?”
“Yes, that’s it. And the kicker is that a PCR test can cost as much as $150 per test, while the canine training would only cost about $2.50. And the dog sniff would immediately let you know the result instead of waiting up to two weeks for the PCR test.”
“Wow. Dogs would’ve made a huge difference.”
“Yes, dogs could’ve been used to quickly screen people attending schools, concerts, weddings, preventing super spreader events. Keep in mind the military has spent billions of dollars to mimic dog’s noses in finding explosives. But the science doesn’t pan out. Dogs still do better at bomb detection than any machine the military can devise.”
Subconscious Fat at Eye-Level
What really irritates me is that I have my favorite uncle/cousin (he was a cousin, but since he was older, I saw him as an uncle) who passed away a few years ago due to prostate cancer. It pisses me off that a dog could’ve been used in an annual checkup to smell him for a moment to see if he was at risk. Many men over 40 don’t get a prostrate exam because they don’t want another man’s or woman’s finger up their ass.
“Ha, yeah, I wouldn’t want a man’s finger up my ass either.” But then Mr. Skeptical’s eyes squint at me, and he adds, “But maybe you’d enjoy a man’s finger up your ass?”
I roll my eyes, ignoring his homophobic comment. “I now have a dear friend who is getting chemotherapy for colon cancer. He was the one who scared me into getting a colonoscopy. I remember the doctor telling me that while the colonoscopy is performed, he can also do a prostate exam. He was trying to make me feel good, like I was getting a two-for-one deal.”
Mr. Skeptical smiles. “You admit it. It felt good?”
“I was sedated, idiot. I didn’t feel a thing. But it pisses me off because I could’ve just had a trained dog smell me. Trained dogs can smell lung cancer from someone’s breath, find early detection of breast cancer, and find colon or prostate cancer in stool samples. In other words, I didn’t need to have a large probe or a man’s finger up my ass with a doctor who expected me to like it.”
“Well, are there valid scientific claims that dogs can do all those things?”
“Yes, there is. The medical journal Gut put out this information in 2011! Over a decade ago! Below is a quote from the paper.”
The accuracy of canine scent detection was even higher for early-stage cancers.
The above statement means that my favorite uncle/cousin, if he’d gotten early detection for his prostate cancer, might still be alive. Another friend I lost to colon cancer might still be around. I want a trained canine to smell my parents every year for the different types of cancer they may get. I want to have a dog smell me, too. It’s cheaper and this would save lives.
Why is this not happening?
Practical Suggestions and Conclusions
Mr. Skeptical leans back and folds his arms, remarking, “Well, it comes down to what many of our posts conclude: it comes down to love and money. Doctors would have to give up some of their supposed intellect in diagnosing and leave it to a dog’s nose. It might hurt their bank accounts and egos.”
“Most doctors aren’t such narcissists. I’m sure there are many doctors who’d welcome dogs into the medical field to help with early disease detection. There’s an opportunity here.”
Hermann Diehl has left the room, talking to himself. He claims he should unite with an MD and start a business charging cash for the public to come and have trained dogs smell them for early disease detection. He claims real change might happen from the ground up by creating public demand for canines in health care.
What do you think?
PS Full disclosure: Chat GPT was used to research and enhance this post.