An off-duty nurse and her dog were involved in a bizarre accident Thursday afternoon at 3:30 pm. CBS reports that Cheri Steigert, who works the night shift as a nurse in Chicago, was woken up by a loud explosion and the sound of a scream.
A neighbor of Steigert’s was the one who had screamed. Steigert was initially under the impression that the man had lost two of his fingers after an accident involving a fireworks explosion. A few hours after the accident, Steigert let her dog out into the yard. When the dog returned, Steigert was shocked. The dog had the man’s hand in it’s mouth.
At first Steigert thought it was a bunny rabbit. “I came back out to pick it up,” she told WBBM-TV, “and I found out it was the other part of the young man’s hand.” The hand was approximately 250 feet from her home. She called the authorities immediately.
Steigert’s dog, a pit bull mix, was likely able to find the hand due to the dog’s keen sense of smell. A dog’s sense of smell is 10,000 to 100,000 times more acute than a human’s sense of smell, according to NOVA. To put that in perspective, a dog can smell a teaspoon of sugar in a million gallons of water! Besides that, the part of a dog’s brain that is used to interpret smells is 40 times larger than our own. It’s no wonder Steigert’s dog detected the hand so quickly!
Many breeds of dog have been used in drug detection, explosive detection, and search and rescue. All these jobs rely on the keen sense of smell that dogs possess. Pit bulls and pit bull mixes are increasingly being used for these jobs.
Still though, the most popular breeds used for police work are German Shepherds, Belgian Malinois, and Dutch Shepherds. The recognition of pit bulls as great working dogs is still in the works. Websites like Workingpitbull.com attempt to educate people about the benefits of using this breed to their full potential.
In this case, Steigert’s dog was able to confirm the extent of the man’s injuries by locating the remainder of his hand.