Dogs by Design
If you ever give a speech to a group of five-year-olds and mention that you have a pet dog, your speech is over. The bubbly children can’t wait to interrupt you and tell you all about their dogs. For as long as you will let them, they will talk about the names of their dogs, the tricks the dogs can do, when they got their pets, what they look like, the time that their dog ate cereal out of the breakfast bowl at the table, and a hundred other details that pop into their minds at the mention of the word “dog.”
What pops into your mind when you hear the word “dog”? Do you think about your pet or a pet you once had? Do you think about the wild dogs in Australia or the K-9 unit of a police department?
Here’s a question.
When you think about dogs, do you think about God?
The fact is, our wonderful Creator designed dogs to be some of the most fascinating and helpful animals in the whole, wide world. Let’s spend some time in this issue of Discoverythinking about the design in dogs.
Since dogs live on land, we know that God created the dog “kind” on Day Six of Creation. Right now, there are more than 300 dog breeds. At the present time, the English Mastiff is the largest dog breed in the world. A large English Mastiff can be almost three feet tall and weigh 230 pounds. The smallest dog breed in the world is the Chihuahua (pronounced chih-WAW-waw). The smallest Chihuahuas can be a mere six inches tall and weigh about three pounds. As you can see, God created the dog kind with great variety contained in its original DNA.
Have you ever noticed that dogs are able to detect smells long before humans can? God designed dogs with a super sense of smell. Dogs can smell 10,000-100,000 times better than humans. One researcher named James Walker said that if you compare human and dog smelling ability to sight, it would mean that what a human could see one mile away, a dog could see 3,000 miles away. The bloodhound, a breed of dog that has one of the greatest sniffers ever created, can track a scent for more than 100 miles. Some dogs can even be trained to smell if a person has a certain type of sickness or disease. Not long ago during the COVID outbreak, dog trainers decided to see if their working dogs could sniff out people who had COVID. Sure enough, the dogs were allowed to smell people, and they identified exactly who had COVID a very high percentage of the time.
Other dogs have been trained to successfully smell cancer. Because the cells of patients who have cancer change, those cells have a different smell. Certain types of dogs can recognize this different smell and let the doctors and patients know when cancer is present. It is difficult to believe that dogs have such great noses that they can actually smell sickness. Certain doctors and researchers are trying to study how the dog nose works so well in order to make an electronic nose that can sniff out sickness. At the present, however, dogs do a much better job than anything these researchers have been able to create. That is because the master Designer created the dog’s super sniffer.
Another interesting thing about a dog’s nose is that no two noses are exactly the same. Each dog has a unique nose print that is unlike every other dog nose print in the world. It is similar to human fingerprints. Just think if the police had a database of dog nose prints and they could determine which dog stole the doggie treat from the bag by dusting for a nose print.
Maybe you have noticed that dogs also hear much better than you do. There is a good reason for this. God created dog ears with 18 different muscles that allow dogs to move their ears toward the sound they detect.
This ability is similar to the workings of a satellite or radar dish that can be turned toward an incoming signal. Furthermore, dog ears can detect sounds that are much softer than human ears can hear. In addition, dogs can detect sounds that are much higher in pitch than humans can detect. Most humans can hear sounds that are pitched at 20,000 Hertz. [Hertz are a measure of how many cycles per second a sound wave moves. The more cycles per second, the higher pitched the sound.] Dogs can detect high-pitched sounds up to 50,000-64,000 Hertz. Maybe you have seen in movies where a person blew a dog whistle. The people in the movie scene don’t hear anything, but the dogs go crazy. This is because the sound is too high-pitched for humans to hear.
Have you ever wondered what the weather is going to be like? It just so happens that dogs are great at predicting the weather. Researchers are not sure how dogs do it, but dogs are terrific at knowing when a storm or bad weather is coming.
Maybe you have seen movies where soldiers use night vision to carry out a mission in the dark. You probably didn’t know that dogs are designed with built-in night vision. First, eyes have different kinds of cells called cones and rods. Rods are used to see in dim-light situations. Dogs have a much higher ratio of rods to cones than humans, so they are better able to see in low-light situations. Next, dogs have a different Flicker Fusion Frequency (FFF) than humans. Sounds complicated, and it is, but let’s just say it lets dogs see better in the dark. Third, and probably most important to night vision, dogs have a membrane called tapetum (TAYP-tum) at the back of their eyes. This lining causes light to reflect back through the eye, allowing better night vision. It is also the reason that dogs’ eyes look almost as if they have light shining out of them when you shine a flashlight at their eyes at night.
Finally, dogs make great pets. Most breeds are very friendly and loyal to their owners. They can be house trained, learn to do tricks, learn to protect family members from danger, and be generally helpful in a number of different ways. People have even trained their dogs to sit patiently, wait until the owner hits a golf ball, and run to retrieve it, so the owner can hit it again and again.
We have such a generous and intelligent God. He designed dogs with amazing abilities of sight, smell, and hearing. And He created them in a way that humans can tame them and use them to make the world a better place. Let’s always remember where every good gift comes from and remember to thank our Creator for His awesome Creation.
“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning” James 1:17.
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