George, a grey-haired schnauzer living in Florida, has recently caught the attention of the medical world for his uncanny ability to sniff out malignant melanomas (good moles that fell in with the wrong crowd and are now —bad moles). George has actually been hired by a Tampa Bay dermatologist to sniff patients suspected of harboring cancerous moles and ol’ George can, in fact, detect these bad moles every time. I tried recently to contact the dermatologist, Dr. Mel Anin, but he had left for his suntanning appointment. So I turned to ol’ Murph, my trusty mutt, and asked him to see if he and George could sniff each other out. Murph, put down his copy of The Wolf Within, seemingly pleased at an opportunity for a fresh sniff, and within minutes actually got a hold of George. I recorded the conversation.
“Hello, is this Doggie Schnauzer?”
“Hello Murphy” replies George in a husky voice.
“Enough with the husky voice, you’re a schnauzer. So, Dr Dave here wants the big scooper on your gig, sniffing moles”
“That’s right, been at it since I was a whippet snapper”.
“You’re lucky `cause I can’t even get near the kid’s hamster cage without getting my…”
“No Murph, skin moles. When Dr. Mel sees a patient with a mole that either itches, turns colour, gets hard, bleeds, or grows either outward or sideways in an irregular or ruff fashion, he calls me in for a sniff. Because cancer cells emit unique odors and we dogs have 220 million sniffing cells (humans have only 5 million), I’ve been trained to detect this cancer odor.”
“Wow, me I’m on telephone poles and crotches. Must say, I get a kick out of that jackknife reflex that visitors to my house do when I plant my snoot in the ol’ inseam”
Both dogs: <SNORT, CHORTLE, SNEEZE>
So, George, what do you do when you actually find this mountain of a mole hill?”
“Well I usually point `er out to Dr. Mel and he then calls in that hot dog Doberman to pinch `er off. We then send it to the black lab to be analyzed and… I’m always right.”
“Wow, no shih-tzu?”
“None, but if the mole is on the ear we just get the boxer to bite it off.”
“Gee, must make a mess.”
“Nothing that ol’ Starr, the bloodhound can’t clean up.”
“When do you work?”
“When I’m on collie and Mel Anin needs me, he just sends the golden to retrieve me.”
“Now George, I understand that malignant melanoma’s are among the worst possible cancers to get”
“That’s right Murph. The average human has about 25 moles. A mole is really just a collection of melanin pigment-containing cells. People with lots of moles, and especially those with many different types of moles, have to keep an eye on them for changes. They can occur anywhere, including the colored part of the eye and under the nails. The worst place is the lower back because a cancer may be well progressed before it’s even noticed back there. The key thing is, like most cancers, catch them early to increase your chances of survival.”
“So what else do you do if the human has a malignant melanoma?”
“Well then they have to get a CAT scan” Both dogs: <SNORT `n CHORTLE> “to see if it has spread to the brain and other areas”.
“ You know, all I ever do is greet guests and burglars with a cheerful smile and a friendly sniff. Your job as Doggie Schnauzer sounds a lot more fun than mine.”
“Not always Murph. I recently recommended some heavy petting to a lady for her menopaws and she smacked me so hard I fell off the table and broke my tail bone.”
“Oooh, must’ve hurt.”
“Ya, but fortunately we had a bone setter in the next room.”