In addition to being a major part of my fitness program, Nina has taught me a lot.
While teaching my course at Dartmouth, Materials: The Substance of Civilization I investigated what makes man able to be the "tool maker." Obviously we know that our brain is important as is our hand with a thumb. I had never though much about the importance of our size. According to Michael Denton in his outstanding book Nature's Destiny, our size is also important in toolmaking. If we were about Nina's (Nina is a giant for a Yorkshire Terrier at 11 pounds!) size, it would be hard for us to keep fueling a fire. Fire is a critical element in making advanced tools. If we were much larger it would be hard for us to walk upright and gather fuel. So our brain, hand and size were just right for tool making.
As I watch Nina on our many walks, she is always intensely sniffing. I have often thought what it would be like to have such a keen sense of smell. It then occurred to me that, if we humans did have such a good sense of smell, we would never have become toolmakers.....we would be too distracted!
Here is a photo of Nina "chilling out" after a power walk.