Dr. Alexandra Horowitz, scientist and author of “Being A Dog: Following The Dog Into A World of Smell”

Dr. Alexandra Horowitz—the scientist, professor at Barnard College, and bestselling author of books about dogs, most recently, “Being A Dog: Following The Dog Into A World of Smell”—discusses Tucker, the dog trained 9781476795997_custom-00459aac057a7dbfd64528d210bd2c99c3c998a3-s400-c85to detect the scat of orcas who live in Puget Sound, as one measure of the scope of revelations offered about detection dogs (and otherwise) in the new book. Horowitz explains how dogs use smells to tell time, or, at least, determine when their owners will come home—as well as some of the components that account for a dog’s extraordinary sense of smell, including “stereo” olfaction, whereby each nostril takes in different aspects of an odor and processes them by re-assembling them in a way that provides dimension. She recounts some of the experiences she undertook to enhance her sniffing skills and/or to provide insights into how a dog smells, including enrolling in a semester-long perfumer’s 11dogs1-superjumbocourse, taking sommelier training, and learning animal tracking. She observes how these and other adventures re-shaped her thinking about dogs both professionally and personally. Horowitz also notes how all the research (including her own; she started and runs the Dog Cognition Lab at Barnard College), anecdotal evidence and personal observations altered her life with her own dogs, Finnegan and Upton, perhaps most notably taking them on so-called “smell walks” now daily. (https://alexandrahorowitz.net, http://insideofadog.com)


ALSO: I spoke briefly with Alicia Lawler, senior volunteer coordinator at Suncoast Hospice in Pinellas Park, about their multifaceted pet therapy program, which provides visits with dogs, cats and other animals to hospice patients at home, Suncoast Care Centers and elsewhere—and which is seeking volunteers, both human and animal. (https://empathhealth.org)

COMEDY CORNER: Steven Wright’s “Dog Stay” (www.stevenwright.com)

MUSIC: Rebekah Pulley’s “Talking Animals Theme,” instrumentals

NAME THAT ANIMAL TUNE: Leonard Cohen’s “Bird On The Wire” R.I.P., Leonard


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About the author
Duncan Strauss is the producer-host of “Talking Animals,” which he launched at KUCI in California in 2003, combining his passions for animals, radio, journalism, music and comedy. The show has aired since late 2005 on Tampa’s WMNF. Strauss lives in Jupiter Farms, FL with his family, including four cats, two horses and one dog. He spends each day talking to those animals, and maintains they talk right back to him, an as yet unverified claim.

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