DaDane Of DaWeek

The Nose Knows
The next time your Great Dane gives you a nudge with his wet nose, take heart. You have just been goosed by a highly sophisticated organ. Your Dane's nose contains millions of specialized sensory nerve cells called neurons. Each neuron has its own olfactory hairs, or cilia. Cilia are hairlike protrusions that receive smell signals from outside the body and change them into nerve impulses which are carried to the brain, where they are "interrogated" and identified.

A dog's sense of smell is infinitely more powerful than that of a human. Dogs use their nose to explore their environment, identify people, locate food, to find or avoid other creatures, and to protect themselves from danger. Their keen sense of smell provides them with an immediate link to the external world. My two Danes can be dead asleep in the next room, but as soon as I open a tub of chicken livers, no matter how quietly I do it, both dogs appear instantly at my side, blinking back sleep but eager for a treat. Apparently their noses are at work 24 hours a day.

So next time you bend over to pick up that discarded chew toy, if you receive an unexpected nudge to your posterior take comfort in the fact that your Dane is simply exploring his world. Every day he's smelling things that you can only dream of.

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