Go to the Globe and Mail homepage

Jump to main navigationJump to main content


Entry archive:

(Thinkstock/Stock photo)
(Thinkstock/Stock photo)

Dogs are on a roll: first driving, now this Add to ...

Forget about having a dog’s day – it’s been quite a week, if you’re of the four-legged variety.

First, Dalhousie University embraced the calming effects of dogs, bringing adorable pooches together with exam-crunched students.

Then, an intensive study from New Zealand demonstrated that with intense training, dogs can drive. Yes, that’s right – operate a moving automobile. (You’re doing yourself a disservice if you haven’t watched this video.) Three dogs learned how to drive stick, no less, which puts them far ahead of yours truly.

If you’re still not convinced of the amazing power of pooches, here’s something: scientific proof that dogs can detect early-stage lung cancer in humans, just from smelling our breath.

A study released Thursday from Vienna, Austria, showed trained dogs successfully hit a 70-per cent success rate, spotting cancer from 120 breath samples.

“Dogs have no problem identifying tumour patients,” said author Peter Errhalt, head of the pulmonology department at Krems hospital in northern Austria.

The Austrian study is the latest in a string of attempts to decode the urban myth and anecdotal evidence of the life-saving, cancer-detection abilities of man – and woman’s – best friend. (A book released late last year set out to do just that – if ever there was a defence of dogs, this is it.)

The hospital will launch a larger study next year – 10 times the size of any previous attempt – in hopes of learning what exactly dogs are smelling in human breath that points to cancer.

They say the ultimate goal is not to bring dogs into hospitals, but to eventually develop an ‘electronic dog nose’ that will mimic a canine sniffer.

Canines, don’t be offended: Your chauffeur services in the future are more than appreciated.

Report Typo/Error

Follow on Twitter: @amberlym

Next story




Most popular videos »

More from The Globe and Mail

Most popular