Salinger: Week Two

Week Two and this little guy is starting to really settle. He makes me laugh out loud on a regular basis and I'm consistently blown away by his resilience. Walks are a lot of fun in this gorgeous weather as we explore the neighbourhood and meet some of the friendly dogs who live near us. There's a lot of exploring and grasshopper-hunting.

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Salinger: Week One

Salinger has been with me for one week and so far I have taught him to sit. That's it. I'm not worried about "obedience" at this stage. He's just a puppy! What I'm worried about are positive experiences. We explore the neighbourhood, we try a different route every day, we visit local businesses (paramedics, police station, long-term care facility, construction sites, etc) and even if it's just stepping in the door and experiencing a different kind of flooring and having a few treats and a little dance party, that's a great experience. I don't expect anything of him!

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My biomedical scent detection project

For the past year and a half I have been doing a project at a hospital in Toronto (a collaborative project with researchers at Dalhousie University in Halifax) which has been a dream come true in a sense: I have been able to combine my PhD education and 15+ years of experience as a researcher in cell biology and my love of training dogs. The project is in a relatively new and emerging field, biomedical scent detection research, the purpose of which is to investigate whether dogs’ sense of smell can be used to diagnose diseases. In my case the focus is on training dogs to detect a pathogenic micro-organism which is a major concern in healthcare facilities and certain communities. I still need to be cryptic here as the study is not published as we speak, but I want to share some observations and personal thoughts that have been on my mind regarding the training aspect of it.

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Old Dogs

On Wednesday, Parker had been full of beans, bounding through the condo, whipping around corners and racing down the halls, prancing on his walks and uber-friendly and playful to every dog we met. I couldn’t stop laughing at his antics and really taking joy in this behaviour. It beats the “old man” gig we usually have – stumbling around, tripping up, standing and staring at nothing. 

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