Dogs come to the rescue again

Man's reliance on dogs has been long established. Prehistoric man found dogs kept predators at bay and early on shepherds found dogs able to round up sheep much more effectively than they could and further uses were soon discovered.

It was not until the time of Charles II that the companionship of dogs was valued and dogs became household pets in Britain.

Now a new use has been discovered. Early detection of diseases and viruses is an important factor in successfully treating illnesses.

Now, in the present virus pandemic, dogs have been found that can detect the coronavirus at an amazing speed, potentially a valuable tool for the hard-pressed medical profession.

This discovery joins a list of other illnesses that dogs can detect including certain cancers and malaria.

Dogs have been of value in assisting man in drug detection, guiding blind people, alerting those who are hard of hearing, guarding property, apprehending criminals and many other useful tasks.

I well recall being involved in the television coverage of the Aberfan disaster of October 1966, when a hill of muddy waste collapsed, burying a school in Wales and killing 116 children and 28 adults.

A large number of volunteers dug furiously to rescue those trapped, but it was the search and rescue dogs using their sensitive noses that were incredibly effective in locating victims.

I had read that Hitler, having survived several assassination attempts, took great care to check his food was not poisoned and would offer a sample of his meal to his dog before he touched it. When researching a book on World War II, I asked a member of his household whether this was true, as I had believed he was very fond of dogs and this was in conflict with my information.

She replied that it was not to risk the life of the dog but to discover whether the dog would reject the food as the dog would reject it if it was poisoned. Watch your dog. He or she will sniff before eating. The dog relies on his or her sense of smell.

Dogs have a remarkable sense of detection. Our son Neil used to visit us weekly and our dog Digger could alert us when Neil's car was over a mile away. Now what made the car sound different to Digger than that of any other Peugeot?

Dogs have detection powers which are amazing, especially if trained and they are very quick to learn.