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Denali can, and probably did, smell me from across the street. And it drove him crazy.

Scent of a woman, from across the street

I put my hands on my thighs and took a moment to catch my breath. I had just finished my 7-mile run, and I was able to really push it at the end because, for once, Denali wasn't with me. (Warmer temps limit his runs to 5 miles.) I stood for a moment and slowly began to walk toward home.

As I waited to cross the street, I could see through the bushes in our yard. My husband was standing on the walkway, and Denali was in midair, writhing on the leash. A minute later, I was greeted by an exuberant Denali who leaped up and put his front paws on my shoulder.

"What the heck is going on?" I asked my husband.

"He saw you and just went crazy," he said.

"Really? He recognized me from across the street?" I asked as we walked inside.

"Well, maybe he smelled you."

It was at that point that I punched my husband in the arm and proceeded to grab a shower. Gross, I thought. Why would he think that Denali could smell me from 50 feet away (or however far it was)?

Mark's assertion continued to bother me as I headed into work, where I relayed the story to a friend.

"I'm pretty sure Denali could smell you," my friend said. "That's how dogs are. They have an amazing sense of smell."

Ohhh. You mean my husband wasn't just being mean? I headed to another friend, Google, and went to find out the answer. As it turns out, a dog's sense of smell is 100,000 times better (yes, 100,000 times) than a human's sense of smell.

According to http://knol.google.com/k/canine-senses-how-dogs-smell#

Dogs can detect odours that are up to 40 feet underground. ... As far as dogs are concerned, all humans have a unique smell. They can pick people out according to body and other odours they project. Scientists think the only way a dog wouldn't be able to tell two people apart would be if they were identical twins on identical diets. The twins would also have to remain silent.

There you have it: Denali can, and probably did, smell me from across the street. And it drove him crazy. In a good way, I hope.

Kimberly Dupps Truesdell is assistant features editor at The Journal Gazette.

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