Introduction by Anne Corke
There have been many articles about the amazing abilities of dogs to sniff out cancers and infections, to warn of impending epileptic seizures, low blood sugar, migraine headaches or even heart attacks. In fact, some dogs can actually call 911 in the event of an emergency. But while ongoing studies endeavour to determine how dogs are able to recognize these illnesses, many dog owners, including some of our own KB-L subscribers, have already experienced the attentive care of our personal “dogtors”. Here are the stories that were posted on KB-L in January of 2010.
From Rita Lockwood, in Oregon:
I have owned and known other breeds during my life, but in my experience the Kerries have been the most conscientious, and most accurate Dogtors. Just a couple specific instances within the last ten years:
The first day Jake met our foster, Muggins, he sniffed him (underneath and toward the back) so intently I tried to stop it. When we went to the vet, the vet wanted Muggins in the next AM for a surgical procedure on his hind foot/toenail. The vet removed the complete toe, and because he was suspicious, sent it down for lab work. It was cancer (removed completely and never recurred) Once it was removed, Jake checked it for healing, but then left it alone.
My youngest granddaughter is a "cardiac kid". The first time Jamie met her was a few months after her last surgery (open heart), but he gently and thoroughly gave her the all-over sniff test. He paid particular attention to her chest & her breath. He hovered the 10 days they were here. A few months later, we went to their place for 2 - 3 weeks. She was/is doing great, took her first steps while we were there. Jamie sniffed her breath when we got there, then wagged his tail. He was usually fairly close, and watched her, but he didn't hover while we were there.
The third incident is of a slightly different type of "caretaking". We have had trouble a few times caused by humans. Our small town police chief now says he trusts my dog, and if Jamie dog thinks something is wrong, he (chief) wants me to call him. We live on a corner, & one of our "across the street" neighbors is a retired policeman. He says the same thing. If he hears Jamie barking a certain way, he gets up ASAP to see what's going on.
From Jen Grapentine in Texas:
Murphy our male kerry can always tell when someone is sick and will hover as well. He never left my husband's side after he returned home after major back surgery. Anytime my husband needed something (vocalized or not) Murphy would run back and forth between me and the bed grunting or whining until I attended to the issue at hand. He makes a very good nursemaid!
Neither one of my Kerry's growl very much. When they do growl though, I trust it implicitly. I've only ever heard Murphy growl twice in the years that we've had him. Both times was due to a threatening situation with a unknown male at the front door acting aggressively toward me. The few times they have growled there has been some form of danger nearby.
From Gil Hart, in Kansas:
This Dogtor thing is a very interesting subject, I have been around and acquainted with many dogs for over 60yrs and never found a dog quite as interesting as a Kerry!
They are one of the most intelligent, protective loving animals I have ever come across. They can smell danger and love and be loved and if you grab the car keys, they are all over you, jumping up and down and running around in circles, If you ask the kerry to do something, they seem to understand your language. They will do anything to please you and will risk themselves to protect you from danger.
The Kerry, One of the most intelligent animals that I know of. Love them and you will have a lifetime full of love and fun. The Kerry, they have a College Degree in people management!
From Mara Murphy, in Ireland:
As a member of the allegedly most intelligent species on this planet, I am humbled and awed by all of your dogster experiences. I have heard many such wonderful stories and am so pleased whenever I read about serious research being conducted in this area in universities and hospitals around the globe, and conducted with the proper respect and care which is due to these wonderful dogs.
That said, I will tell your about our Kerry, Lady. She also knows when we are sick or feeling sad. However, I must confess that in her case it is mostly because she has a fondness for eating used tissues!
So there it is, the unpleasant truth. The hint of a sniffle puts Lady on high alert, waiting for someone to reach for the kleenex. And we go to great lengths to dispose of her favourite "treats" without her finding them out!