Author: Barry Yedvobnick
The jury stares at me like they don’t believe any of it, and how can I blame them? A year ago, I felt confused too. I knew nothing about olfactory receptors underlying the prowess of a dog’s nose. My husband, Jack, was sold by the surgeon’s pitch, and I trusted Jack’s decision.
I look at my lawyer, Barlow, and he provides a reassuring smile. He was Jack’s closest friend, and he convinced me to file the lawsuit right after Jack’s funeral. Barlow said the surgeon used Jack like a lab rat.
I pick a juror and focus on them, like we rehearsed. “Dr. Robinson told us he developed a surgery that would make Jack the best private investigator ever. He promised the operation would give Jack the same sense of smell as a dog.”
Barlow faces the jury. “So, Teresa, Dr. Robinson claimed having the surgery would make Jack into some sort of super PI. Like a bloodhound.”
“Yes, apparently people sweat more when they lie, and they give off molecules called volatiles. Since dogs have such a keen sense of smell, they can detect the volatiles. Dr. Robinson said after the procedure, Jack would detect them too. He’d know when people lied, and that’s important during investigations.”
“How did he give your husband a dog-like sense of smell?”
“With a canine stem-cell transplant into his nose. Those cells developed into olfactory receptors normally found in dogs. The procedure wasn’t approved for humans yet, but Dr. Robinson said it was safe.”
“Did the transplant work well?”
“Extremely well. Jack could smell when people lied during questioning, and he started solving cases very quickly. But then his behavior changed.”
“How did he change, Teresa?”
“I first noticed something during dinners. Jack started pointing his nose up in the air when I cooked. He also wanted the house cooler. When it got warm, he stuck his tongue out.”
“Like a dog,” Barlow says, raising his voice.
“Exactly like a dog. Including the drool. And when he thought I wasn’t looking, he’d lick himself.”
Barlow shakes his head and approaches the jury. “Were there other disturbing behaviors?”
“Well, there was one in particular. He started sniffing people, especially strangers. It upset me, but he couldn’t control it. They arrested him for this once.”
Barlow walks towards me. “It’s clear you both suffered as a result of Dr. Robinson’s actions, and eventually his careless surgery led to Jack’s death. Please describe the circumstances.”
“We were having a cookout in our yard with some friends. Jack suddenly ran into the road and a car hit him.”
“Why did he run into the road?”
“He was chasing a neighbor’s cat.”
Barlow turns to the jury and sighs. “No further questions.”
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