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I recently came across a YouTube video of a dog's reaction to an earthquake that occurred in Arcata in Northern California earlier this month. The video has gone viral, as they say, and has been viewed over a half million times.

The video was remarkable. It was a fixed, security type video of the interior of an office. A dog, stretched out and apparently relaxing on the floor, suddenly lowers it muzzle, sniffs the floor, and then bolts out of the frame.

About five seconds later, you see the shaking begin. Then people begin running into and out of the frame, heading for the exits as parts of the ceiling rain down on their heads.

Having worked a police canine for years, I'm pretty familiar with dogs, their instincts, and the importance of relying on them.

There were a number of times when my police dog, because of his enhanced sense of smell and hearing, would alert me to the presence of a suspect.

Dogs have also been used help those with epilepsy detect oncoming seizures, and are now being trained to detect tumors in people.

And even though I've heard people talk for years about animals and the way they sense earthquakes, I've never seen such a clear example as the one provided by the YouTube video.

This got me to thinking, which my wife, Donnelle, usually says is a pretty dangerous thing.

What if your dog could warn you of all of life's difficulties? Of any impending event in your life that could cause undue stress?

For example, minutes before your spouse arrives home in a bad mood, your dog sits up, paws the refrigerator, and barks.

"Thanks Sparky," you might say as you grab a beer and head to your mancave in the garage.

Or, you notice your dog grab a dishtowel and shake it twice, before dropping it and howling.

Recognizing your dog is signaling the imminent arrival of your mother-in-law, you give him a bone and once again head to the mancave.

(Not my mother-in-law, though. She's OK in my book.)

Or when you're looking for your rake and can't remember who might have borrowed it, your dog runs up to the offending neighbor's house and starts digging up his rose bush.

I quizzed some of my colleagues to find out what they might look for in a detection dog.

"Shopping for a used car, the dog pees on the rear tire to let you know it's a lemon," one said.

Some of my women-type co-workers had a better plan, especially when it comes to dating.

"The guy who just wants a one night stand? The dog bites him in the crotch," said one.

She added: "Or the guy who is married. The dog bites his ring finger."


"How about the guy who just pretends he has money," said another. "The dog paws at the wallet in his pocket."

Of course, as I pointed out in fairness, the gentleman wary of gold diggers would like a dog that would maul such a date's purse.

One of the moms I work with was spot on:

"A dog that warns of the babysitter who would be horrible."

One of my married coworkers:

"One that would alert you to your husband's selective hearing."

She explained the dog would bark when her husband said his usual "YeahOkSureNoProblem," but wasn't paying a lick of attention to what she was saying.

The best skill such a detection dog could possess?

One that would alert you when a politician on TV is lying.

Then again, I guess you could just wait for their lips to move...

Craig Macho is a staff reporter for The Oakdale Leader, The Riverbank News and The Escalon Times. He may be reached at or by calling 847-3021.